Florian Kohfeldt will be pitted against his predecessor Alexander Nouri when Werder Bremen go neck-to-neck with Hertha BSC at the Olympiastadion on Saturday.
Werder have lost their last 5 games in the Bundesliga, although Hertha have failed to beat them in any of their last 12 meetings.
A huge game for the relegation battle
The visitors are currently situated in the automatic relegation zone and another defeat will leave them in a precarious position.
“It’s certainly not a final. No one will be relegated or confirmed as safe on the day. However, it’s a hugely important game in the relegation battle,” Kohfeldt revealed.
Nouri, who managed Werder between 2016 and 2017, has enjoyed a mixed bag of results since succeeding Jürgen Klinsmann on 11 February.
He opened his account with a 2-1 win at rock-bottom SC Paderborn before being condemned to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of FC Koln at the Olympiastadion.
Hertha BSC will take positives from their 3-3 draw against Fortuna Dusseldorf last Friday. They trailed 3-0 at the break but staged a miraculous comeback to salvage an invaluable point.
A win will create a 9-point gap between Hertha and the relegation play-off position, which is something Nouri is fully aware of.
“It’s going to be a special matchup – but we want to win this game regardless,” Nouri said. “We know what the situation is with the table, we’re at home and we want to get a successful result in front of our home fans.”
Their home form has been an area of concern for Die Alte Dame. They’ve failed to win any of their last 5 league games at the Olympiastadion and have registered just 3 wins on home turf in the Bundesliga this season.
The River Islanders have also been more successful on the road – amassing 12 points away from home compared to just 5 points at the Wesser-Stadion.
Despite their disastrous campaign thus far, Kohfeldt spoke confidently ahead of their trip to the capital, saying: “We need to score against Hertha. We’ll probably have more possession but Hertha will try to hit us on the counter and make use of their attacking quality.
“I’ll be happy to see him [Nouri], but my favourite thing would be for him to congratulate me after the game."
- Niklas Stark and Santiago Ascacibar will return after suspension.
- Dedryck Boyata (thigh) and Peter Pekarik (back) will be unavailable for the hosts.
- Per Skjelbred, who is leaving Hertha at the end of the season, is a major doubt due to illness.
Unavailable: Pekarik, Boyata.
- Davie Selke, who is on-loan from Hertha BSC, will be ineligible to play against his parent club.
- Kohfeldt has confirmed Omer Toprak (calf) and Jiri Pavlenka (muscle) will be out for the visit to Berlin.
- Kevin Mohwald (knee) and Niclas Fullkrug (knee) are long-term absentees.
Unavailable: Selke, Toprak, Pavlenka, Mohwald, Fullkrug.
Doubtful: Bartels, Bargfrede.