Soccer Germany Bundesliga 13 March 2023
Werder Bremen vs Bayer Leverkusen - Match Preview
Promoted Werder Bremen have seen their early-season European aspirations fall away after winning just three of their last ten Bundesliga matches (L7). Their latest setback was a 2-1 defeat to Augsburg where Die Werderaner netted just once despite a tally of 2.16 xG (expected goals), which prompted defender Marco Friedl to admit that Bremen “caused their own downfall”.
When you combine wastefulness in front of the goal with the fact only two sides have conceded more goals (43) and kept fewer clean sheets (four) than Bremen ahead of this round, boss Ole Werner has some problems to solve. Werner will hope a return to home comforts can inspire a change in fortune, and this is a fixture that gives them a good chance considering their historical dominance on their own turf against Bayer Leverkusen (W19, D19, L7).
Xabi Alonso’s men prepared for their trip to Bremen with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ferencváros in the UEFA Europa League (UEL) last 16. The Spaniard described that performance as “not spectacular, but good”, which somewhat encapsulates an indifferent season for Die Werkself given a win here would be their third in succession for just the second time this season.
Unless Leverkusen goes on to do the unthinkable and win the UEL, returning to the European stage now depends on finding consistency in the Bundesliga, with Leverkusen trailing the top six by eight points ahead of this round. They haven’t finished outside the European places since 2016/17 and continuing their solid away form may help avoid a repeat of that, with Alonso’s men losing just one of their last five Bundesliga road trips (W3, D1).
📋 Players to watch: Still the Bundesliga’s top scorer ahead of this round, Niclas Füllkrug has netted four of his last five Bremen goals before half-time. Leverkusen midfielder Kerem Demirbay was on the scoresheet in midweek, while he’s also scored twice and assisted three times across 11 personal H2Hs against Bremen (W3, D6, L2).
⚡ Hot stat
strong>: Bremen have scored six goals in the first 15 minutes of their Bundesliga home games - the most in the position ahead of this round.
Wolfsburg vs Union Berlin - Match Preview
Wolfsburg may have turned a corner after ending a five-game winless run by bagging scoring twice in consecutive games (W1, D1), although the suspension of club captain Maximilian Arnold will hurt after his incredible 62 consecutive top-flight appearances. Boss Niko Kovač recently stated that seventh place is the “maximum” his side can achieve, though their 2-2 draw with Frankfurt last time out kept them just five points off the top six heading into this round.
There’s been no shortage of entertainment for the neutral here at the Volkswagen Arena since the Bundesliga restart, with 4.75 goals per match on average across Wolfsburg’s four games at home. A continuation of that trend could be worrying for a Union Berlin side that has never won or even scored a goal here in their short top-flight history (L3).
Urs Fischer’s men did well to pick themselves up from the canvas to equalise three times in a 3-3 draw against Royale Union in their Thursday night Europa League tie, yet that result consigned the overachievers to a third straight game without a victory (D2, L1). The Iron Ones have shown cracks in league action lately as well, picking up just two of the last nine available points which have consequently left them five points off the title pace.
It would be unfair to judge them too harshly given this is just Union’s third top-flight season in club history, but they do need a resurgent performance to end a joint club record three-game scoring drought in the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg will have to keep their discipline if they’re to keep Union from ending that drought, as only two sides have scored more than Union’s 15 league goals from set pieces this season… albeit one of those sides is Wolfsburg (16)!
📋 Players to watch: Yannick Gerhardt could prove to be the catalyst for Wolfsburg’s success after contributing to three of their four goals across the last four rounds (G2, A1). As for Union, defender Josip Juranović ended his side’s two-game competitive goal drought in midweek and impressively has five goal involvements across his last seven appearances (G2, A3).
⚡ Hot stat: Ahead of the round, Union have won a league-high 12 points from losing positions (W4, L5).
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