In what has been a season of extremes for Werder Bremen, it now comes down to the last two games of the season.
We can thank our lucky stars (and Viktor Skripnik) that we do not find ourselves in the gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking situation that our northern neighbours HSV and Hannover are in. The bottom of the table is still very much six-horse race, and I, for one, don’t envy fans of any of those clubs having to go through the emotional wringer over the coming two match days.
Instead, the Grün-Weißen have hope rather than dread as we approach the final stretch.
Two Games for Europe
With Schalke seemingly in free fall, there looks a chance that sixth place (and the European football next season that comes with it) is still very much up for grabs. Two tough games await Werder though, as they face an in-form, Champions League-chasing Borussia Mönchengladbach and a competitor for the top six in Borussia Dortmund.
After the Hinrunde, it seems amazing that the prior paragraph can even have been written, but such is the turnaround under the new coach and staff that the dream is still on.
Aufwiedersehen und Danke
Saturday’s final home game of the season will see some farewells at the Weser Stadion. It was announced earlier this week that defender Sebastian Prödl will be leaving at the end of the current campaign.
The Austrian joined the club in 2008 from SK Sturm Graz and helped win the DFB Pokal in 2009.
“I have had a fantastic time at Bremen and would like to thank the team from the bottom of my heart,” said Prödl, “but I would like a new challenge next season.”
Two others bidding farewell will be striker Davie Selke (I’m still bemused!) and on-loan goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
The players will be running out in next season’s new home kit on Saturday. The new strip harks back to the old days with a design based on the kits worn by the club throughout the 1960s. The shade of green used was also present throughout the 1970s.
Next Up? Die Fohlen
A big improvement is going to be needed from last week’s disappointing draw with Hannover when Mönchengladbach visit this weekend. The fact that Zlatko Junuzovic’s free-kick equaliser (what else?) was our first real effort on goal in the match speaks volumes.
To be honest, it felt like we’d stolen the point and had to scamper away quickly before a criminal investigation into the result could be launched.
A 4-1 defeat was the outcome from the Hinrunde clash at Borussia Park. Unbeaten in the league since February and with three wins on the bounce, Lucien Favre’s team will provide a stern test this weekend.
The good news is that two recent absentees should be back in contention for Gladbach.
“I’m finally fit again and, consequently, I’m really happy,” says Luca Caldirola, who has been out with a foot injury. “Hopefully things continue this way.”
Felix Kroos has also seemingly recovered from his rib injury and hopes to be fit to play some part this weekend.
“The injury hasn’t fully recovered yet, but it feels much better,” cautions Kroos. “I would like to think that I’ll be available for Saturday’s game.”
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