The DFB-Pokal resumes this week, and Tuesday night serves up a potentially close contest as Werder Bremen hosts Greuther Furth at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
Bremen have had a decent season all things considered, and they are currently sat in 11th in the Bundesliga standings with five points separating them and the bottom three. There’s been some good, some bad, and some ugly, but fans will just be happy with the fact that the team aren’t in the relegation zone.
Furth, meanwhile, find themselves in a fight at the top of the 2. Bundesliga table. Only one point behind 2nd place Bochum and 3rd place Holstein Kiel, Die Kleeblätter are genuine candidates for promotion back to the top flight. It would be only the second time they’ve made the jump up to the first tier, which goes to show how much an achievement it would be if they manage to get the job done.
For now, both sides have their sights set on a cup run, as the winner of this contest will move on to the semifinals of the German Cup. With reigning champions Bayern Munich already eliminated, there’s a chance either of these teams could go on to win the trophy themselves. However, they’ve got to get through Tuesday night first.
Bremen are still without a few key players, as central midfielders Christian Groß and Patrick Erras are out while strikers Davie Selke and Niclas Fullkrug have yet to recover from their respective injuries.
There is some good news, as the club confirmed 18 year old Nick Woltemade will be back in the squad.
It’s a similar story for Furth. Emil Berggreen and Abdourahmane Barry are both unavailable due to groin injuries, while Leon Schaffran will likely miss out because of an issue with his ankle.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Veljkovic, Moisander, Friedl, Gebre Selassie, Bittencourt, Eggestein, Mohwald, Augustinsson, Schmid, Sargent
Greuther Furth: Burchert, Meyerhofer, Bauer, Stach, Raum, Seguin, Sarpei, Green, Ernst, Hrgota, Nielsen
Ones to watch
The 21-year-old has put in the hard work for Bremen this season, but this match should give him the chance to showcase his creative ability.
Getting more and more minutes in the team as the campaign has gone on, Romano Schmid has rarely disappointed. Used as a secondary striker of sorts, the Austrian has made an impact on both sides of the field, dropping back and venturing forward depending on the situation.
He’s got a lot more to his game than just that, though. Schmid is a very clever player who finds space before getting on the ball. He uses his diminutive stature to his advantage, as his low center of gravity helps him dance past defenders. The youngster does need to improve in the final third, but that’s exactly what games like this are good for.
Up against lower league opposition, Schmid will likely get plenty of opportunities to create in possession against a Furth side sitting deep and absorbing pressure. It will be a test, sure, but it’s also an opportunity for the Austrian to boost his confidence and prove that he’s capable of magic as well as grit.
This is a bit of a biased selection, but as an American myself, I’ve always been curious about the career of Julian Green.
He was a shock call up to the United States men’s national team ahead of the 2014 World Cup, getting a spot on the roster ahead of icon Landon Donovan. It was a very controversial decision at the time, but it was one that made some sense.
Green was an 18 year old playing in the Bayern Munich academy, and he had even made some first team appearances for the German giants. The call paid off in some regard, as Green scored in the United States’ round of 16 loss to Belgium.
However, it’s not quite come together for him ever since. Green left Munich in 2017 due to a lack of minutes on the field, with a disappointing loan move to Hamburg serving as a final blow to his time at the Allianz Arena. A transfer to Stuttgart didn’t do him much good either, and he found himself on the outskirts of the United States setup as well.
Thankfully for Green, things have turned around ever since he joined Furth. He’s been a key player this season the club pushes for promotion, with eight goals and three assists in all competitions as a midfielder. The American is in particularly stellar form at the moment, scoring in each of his last three games.
If Furth wants any chance of pulling off an upset on Tuesday night, they’ll need Green to continue his purple patch with another superb performance.
Last time out
It’s nearly been eight years since these two sides last faced off, with that Bundesliga contest taking place at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
The home side opened the scoring moments after the halftime break when Aaron Hunt slotted home a penalty, but Furth would equalize less than 10 minutes later through Stephan Fürstner.
Furth then took the lead in spectacular fashion as Athanasios Petsos absolutely smashed a free kick from distance into the top corner, leaving goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz helpless.
Their advantage didn’t last long either. Bremen were given another penalty eight minutes later after Mateo Pavlovic was taken down in the area during a corner, and Hunt was able to convert another spot kick to secure a point for his side.
How to watch
Those in the UK will be able to watch the contest on Sky Sport 2.