Two Bundesliga teams who were victorious last weekend will each look to continue their winning ways on Saturday afternoon, as Werder Bremen host Arminia Bielefeld at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
After a rough start, Bremen were able to beat Schalke 3-1 following a Niclas Fullkrug hat-trick. Meanwhile, Bielefeld picked up three huge points in their fight for survival, defeating relegation rivals FC Koln 1-0.
As a result, both sides will come into this contest in high spirits, which sets the stage for a potentially thrilling matchup.
The Green-Whites will be without star man Milot Rashica once again, but there’s a chance he’ll return following the international break if he isn’t sold before transfer deadline day. Bremen’s only other injury concern is experienced defender Omer Toprak, who is still recovering from a calf problem.
It’s a similar story when it comes to Bielefeld. Right back Nathan De Medina got hurt early in the season opener, and will likely be out until November. Andreas Voglsammer, meanwhile, is unavailable for selection due to a foot injury.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Selassie, Veljkovic, Friedl, Augustinsson, Mbom, Klaassen, Eggestein, Bittencourt, Fullkrug, Sargent
Arminia Bielefeld: Ortega, Brunner, Pieper, Van der Hoorn, Lucoqui, Doan, Prietl, Hartel, Soukou, Klos, Cordova
Ones to watch
The hat-trick hero for Bremen last week, supporters will hope forward Niclas Fullkrug can grab a few more goals against Bielefeld.
His presence up top was missed last season, as a ruptured ACL ruled out Fullkrug for most of the campaign. However, he did give the Green-Whites a boost when he returned, scoring twice as the team narrowly avoided relegation.
Fullkrug’s three goals last weekend should give him plenty of confidence going into this weekend. An instinctive finisher, the forward just seems to know where to be at all times. He’s not the quickest, or the tallest, or the strongest, but he knows where the back of the net is. Ultimately, that’s all that really matters.
If Fullkrug can keep scoring at a consistent rate, then Bremen won’t have to worry about relegation this year.
He’ll be going up against a really tough Bielefeld backline, though.
Only conceding once in the opening two games of the campaign, they’ve shown that they can absorb pressure and handle whatever is thrown at them.
The main man at the back has been Amos Pieper, who has impressed many with his performances so far this season. The former Borussia Dortmund man came to the Bielefelder Alm Stadium last summer for under 50 thousand pounds, and was key as the Blues won promotion to the Bundesliga.
Pieper has continued this excellent form, and has caught the eyes of many across the country. At 6’3”, he’s not the most towering presence, but the center back knows how to win aerial duels. He’s also useful with the ball at his feet, able to pick out teammates up the field with pinpoint long passes.
Still only 22 years old as well, don’t be surprised if Bremen can’t find a way past Pieper and company.
It’s been nearly two years since these two sides last faced off, with that game being a preseason friendly ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
Bielefeld, who were a second division side at the time, would take the lead early on. Capitalizing on a Bremen turnover at the back, Prince Osei Owusu settled the loose ball before expertly curling a volley into the side netting.
It may have taken them the rest of the contest, but the Green-Whites were eventually able to fight back. Johannes Eggestein tied things up after a well worked free kick routine, and Josh Sargent went on to score the winner, slamming home a shot from close range.
Both benefited from the close encounter, which prepared the teams well for the year ahead.
Where to watch
The match won’t be broadcasted in the UK, but fans in the United States will be able to see the game on ESPN+.