After successive defeats including an embarrassing exit from the Cup at the hands of Dritte Liga side Arminia Bielefeld, it was back to winning ways for Werder last weekend as they downed SC Freiburg at the Schwarzwald Stadion. ‘Werder Watch’ takes a look at the latest happenings on the banks of the Weser.
Di Santo- the good and the bad
The Grün-Weißen’s 1-0 win against the Breisgauer was a case of ‘heads you win, tails you lose’ for star striker Franco Di Santo. His goal was a candidate for goal of the week if not the whole month as he curled the ball home from the corner of the area.
However, he picked up a needless booking bringing his yellow card tally to five, meaning he’ll be absent the visit of Bayern Munich this weekend. He will be sorely missed. His strike last week took his season’s total to 12 putting him fourth in the Bundesliga standings.
Selke wins ‘Sportsman of the Year’
Taking on the goal scoring duties from Di Santo will fall to the club’s new Sportsman of the Year Davie Selke. The 20-year-old U19 international was lauded with the award at a ceremony on Tuesday evening.
“This award fills me with great pride. In the past, there have been many famous Werder stars such as Dieter Eilts, Marco Bode and Rude Völler who have been named Sportsman of the Year. To be held in the same regard as these people is a real honour for me,” explained Selke.
So far this campaign, he has hit the back of the net 5 times in 21 appearances.
Following hot on the news that youngster Janek Sternberg, Theodore Gebre-Selassie and Zlatko Junuzovic have signed new contracts, comes the announcement that 21-year-old Levent Aycicek has also penned a new deal with the club.
The midfielder has committed himself to Werder until 2018 something that pleases Werder’s sporting director Thomas Eichin.
“Levent has matured into a crucial part of our Bundesliga squad. He has also been able to prove his quality in the Bundesliga so therefore we’re very happy that he’ll continue his development at Werder” he explained.
Claudio Pizarro- The prodigal son
Werder’s current star striker may be absent through suspension, but a former idol will be welcomed back to the Weser Stadion. While unlikely to start, Claudio Pizarro should be on the bench and will no doubt get a warm reception from the home fans.
In two spells at the club, the Peruvian became a firm favourite scoring 89 goals in 159 appearances. In 2001 he moved to Bayern Munich netting Werder around £7.2 million.
Next-up: Bayern Munich
For most teams the hardest game of the season is Bayern away, while the second hardest is Bayern at home. Werder’s game at the Allianz Arena during week eight saw them trounced 6-0, so they will be looking to give the Bavarians a better challenge on Saturday.
After an iffy start to the Rückrunde, Pep Guardiola’s men have refound their mojo and handed out serious beatings to Hamburg (8-0), Paderborn (6-0) and Shakhtar Donetsk (7-0).
Looking on the bright side, Werder have an identical record to Bayern in the Rückrunde so far with sixteen points from seven matches.
As mentioned Di Santo sits this one out through suspension. Alejandro Galvez has just returned from injury, but the Bayern game has come too soon for him to be considered.
Levent Aycicek is also back in full training following his knee injury. “I feel great; the short break did me the world of good. I’m no longer feeling any pain in my knee,” he said. Assani Lukimya also remains sidelined with a stomach muscle injury.
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