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15 Apr 2023 / admin

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Werder Bremen vs Freiburg - Match Preview

⚽ 16 April 2023 - 13:30 GMT +0

It was a wild ride for Werder Bremen last weekend after they looked to be heading for a goalless draw against Mainz before falling behind and equalising on two separate occasions after the 80-minute mark! That was actually the first time since 1980 that a Bundesliga game featured four goals beyond the 85th minute, and whilst it may have felt like a win, the River Islanders have now posted five straight games without one (D2, L3).

Despite their current wobble, the outright aim for Werder in their first season back at the top was survival and they look to be just about there with a ten-point cushion to the automatic relegation places ahead of this round. The topic of a contract extension for boss Ole Werner is on the horizon with his time at the club set to expire at the end of the campaign, yet their positive season suggests he will extend his stay.

Visiting manager Christian Streich knows all about a long tenure as he is now in his 12th year at Freiburg. The away side hasn’t disgraced themselves in the past fortnight, sharing a pair of games against Bayern Munich in two competitions across their last two outings (W1, L1). Whilst they look set to qualify for Europe via their league position, they could yet end the season with some silverware as a repeat of last season's final against Leipzig awaits them in the upcoming DFB-Pokal semi-final.

Attention will swiftly turn back to Bundesliga matters when Freiburg look to become the 21st club in German top-flight history to accumulate 1000 goals with just one more here. Streich’s men certainly aren’t guaranteed to hit that milestone yet after winning just twice across their last ten away league games (W2, D4, L4), but they have at least scored a total of five times in their last four visits here (D2, L2).

📋 Players to watch: Two of the Bundesliga’s top-three scorers ahead of the round are set to battle it out! Werder’s Niclas Füllkrug (G13) and Freiburg’s Vincenzo Grifo (G13) have also hit the second-most and most set-piece goals, with seven and ten respectively.

Hot stat: Ahead of the round, Werder had lost more home league games than any other Bundesliga side (W5, D1, L8).

Union Berlin vs Bochum - Match Preview

⚽ 16 April 2023 - 15:30 GMT +0

After being eliminated from two cup competitions in the last month, Union Berlin can fully focus on their unlikely Champions League qualification bid. Yet that laser focus on the league didn’t really pay dividends last time out as their faint title hopes all but evaporated with a 2-1 defeat to second-placed Dortmund. Union were unbeaten in four straight league games prior to that defeat though (W2, D2), and they’re heavy favourites to resurrect that solid form in this match.

Returning to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei should be a big boost for the Iron Ones too, who has proved unbreakable in home league action this season (W9, D4). Only Bayern can also boast an unbeaten home league record ahead of this round, and with a perfect winning return across Union’s last six home meetings with Bochum, they’ll surely expect another positive result.

A three-game unbeaten run (W2, D1) served to lift visiting Bochum from rock-bottom to escape the clutches of the bottom three, yet a 3-2 defeat to relegation rivals Stuttgart last time out gave them a harsh reality check. Fixing the league’s worst defensive record could ultimately prove crucial to Bochum’s survival prospects as they’ve never let in more than their current 60 goals at this stage of a top-flight season in club history.

Despite their defensive woes, Bochum has picked up more points across their last two away league games (W1, D1) than they did in their opening 12 Bundesliga road trips this season (W1, L11). Even with that notable improvement, Bochum looks up against it after losing all five of their away league games against sides beginning the round in the top-six, each ‘to nil’.

📋 Players to watch: Kevin Behrens has scored a second-half goal in Union’s last two home victories, whilst six of his last eight competitive strikes also came here in the capital. As for Bochum, Philipp Hofmann netted a rare goal from open play last time out, ending the team’s run of five straight goals scored from a set-piece or penalty situations.

Hot stat: Bochum has been trailing for a league-high 662 minutes across their away games this season, that’s 53% of their total regulation time!

Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen - Match Preview

⚽ 16 April 2023 - 17:30 GMT +0

The weekend’s Bundesliga action draws to a close with arguably one of the picks of the round as European hopefuls Wolfsburg welcome their red-hot rivals, Bayer Leverkusen. A disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Gladbach halted the Wolves’ five-game unbeaten run (W2, D3), but boss Niko Kovač clearly still believes in the project despite dropping out of the top-six after reportedly rebuffing advances from Premier League Tottenham this month.

A home return isn’t guaranteed to see a resurgent performance from Wolfsburg, although they have shown character in coming from behind to draw in each of their last three home league games. Perhaps a stalemate would be cause for celebration here too, as they’ve fallen to five defeats from their last six home encounters with Leverkusen!

Bayer Leverkusen has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence on the domestic stage since Xabi Alonso took over the then-relegation-threatened club back in October. In fact, Die Werkself are the only side to pick up maximum points across the five rounds prior to this, whilst scoring 15 goals along the way for an incredible average of three per game.

Alonso’s men had to come from behind to claim a 1-1 draw in their midweek UEFA Europa League quarter-final clash with Royale Union, yet they could even have their sights set on a top-four Bundesliga finish if they can keep up their blistering league form in the final seven rounds. Playing away is unlikely to faze Leverkusen, who are unbeaten on the road in all competitions since a February trip to Augsburg (W5, D1), whilst scoring at least three goals in four of those games.

📋 Players to watch: Wolfsburg’s Yannick Gerhardt has never been on the losing side in any of his 24-scoring club appearances as a senior player (W20, D4). Watch out for Leverkusen’s teenage sensation Florian Wirtz, the 19-year-old was described as a “special player” by Alonso after contributing to three goals across his previous two Bundesliga appearances (G1, A2)

Hot stat: Only Bayern Munich has scored in both halves more often than Wolfsburg’s 13 times in the Bundesliga this season (48%).

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