This weekend in the Bundesliga sees 11th take on 8th as Werder Bremen hosts SC Freiburg at the Wohninvest Weserstadion on Saturday afternoon.
Bremen were off last week due to strange circumstances. They were supposed to face Arminia Bielefeld on the road, but the game had to be called off due to a snowstorm in the area. Although they will have been annoyed to not play, at least the Green-Whites were able to get some additional rest.
Freiburg did play last time out, and they managed to secure one of the biggest results in club history. They defeated Borussia Dortmund, which was the first time that had happened in over 10 years. Goals from Woo-yeong Jeong and Jonathan Schmid gave Freiburg an advantage early in the second half, and they were able to hold on despite a late strike from teenage sensation Youssoufa Moukoko. It was a huge victory that put the Breisgau Brazilians right back in the fight for European qualification.
Neither team is in any sort of danger at the moment, but they’ll each look to pick up all three points on this occasion.
As mentioned earlier, the week off gave Bremen a bit of additional rest. As a result, they’ve now only got one injury issue to worry about as Patrick Erras has yet to recover from a muscle problem. Not everyone will be able to start, though, with the likes of Davie Selke and Niclas Fullkrug likely forced to settle for a spot on the bench.
Things aren’t too bad for Freiburg, either. Wide forwards Chang-hoon Kwon and Roland Sallai are both out, while reserve goalkeeper Mark Flekken is also unavailable due to an elbow injury.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Veljkovic, Toprak, Friedl, Gebre Selassie, Bittencourt, Eggestein, Mohwald, Augustinsson, Sargent, Rashica
SC Freiburg: Muller, Schmid, Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gunter, Holer, Santamaria, Hofler, Grifo, Jeong, Demirovic,
Ones to watch
It seemed like Bremen fans were finally going to see a fully fit Milot Rashica in the starting lineup once again last weekend.
His return had come in stages, first settling for brief cameos off the bench before being subbed on at half time against Schalke. He then started in the DFB-Pokal a few days before the fixture, so the stage was set for the Kosovo international to finally feature in the starting lineup in the Bundesliga.
That did not happen, of course, as the game against Bielefeld was called off. However, there is a silver lining at least, as the cancellation did give Rashica an extra week of rest and recovery.
The Green-Whites were willing to cut him some slack before, but now there’s genuine pressure on Rashica to perform. He’s the star man in the side after all, so he shoulders a lot of responsibility going forward. That was only further proven when the team struggled to score many goals in his absence.
Everyone knows how good Rashica can be when he is in form. He’s a threat every time gets on the ball, able to either dance past defenders or unleash a shot from distance. However, it’s been a while since the Kosovo international has been at his best, so his value has taken a hit.
Rashica needs to prove himself once again, so his revenge tour could start on Saturday.
This selection is a bit of a biased one, admittedly, as I’m a fellow Bosnian. However, there’s plenty of reason for everyone to keep an eye on Ermedin Demirovic this weekend.
Following in the steps of Edin Džeko and Vedad Ibisevic, Demirovic is just the latest Bosnian to make waves and score goals in the Bundesliga. Joining Freiburg over the summer from Deportivo Alavés, the striker has acclimated to life in Germany quite quickly.
After struggling for gametime early on in the campaign, Demirovic began to feature more and more due to Freiburg’s poor form. He made the most of his chances, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a starting spot in the lineup. The forward hasn’t looked back since, and he now has three goals and seven assists on the season.
Demirovic has just got a bit of everything. He’s quick, able to turn and run in behind the defense at a decent speed. The forward isn’t too bad in the air since he’s six feet tall, and he knows how to use his frame well. He’s best in the final third, though, as he’s a reliable finisher while also serving as a creative threat that can pick out teammates.
Still only 22 years old, this might only be the beginning for Demirovic. He’s someone people are starting to watch out for, and another solid performance this weekend would only increase the hype surrounding him.
Last time out
The two sides faced off early on in the season at the Schwarzwald-Stadion after both had made decent starts to the campaign.
Freiburg came flying out the blocks, taking the lead after just 16 minutes. A corner made its way to Lucas Holer at the backpost. His shot was a terrible one, but fortunately for him his effort went right to teammate Philipp Lienhart. His attempt was a much better one, as the centerback was able to successfully flick the ball past Jiri Pavlenka and into the back of the net.
The hosts thought they had doubled their advantage five minutes later when Jonathan Schmid picked out the bottom corner with an excellent finish. However, the referee called the goal off following a VAR review as Roland Sallai was offside in the buildup.
Bremen would make the most of the lucky break soon after. Leonardo Bittencourt won the ball high up the pitch before driving towards goal, eventually getting taken out in the area by Nicolas Hofler. The referee pointed to the spot, and Niclas Fullkrug stepped up to coolly convert the penalty.
The momentum of the contest would swing as both sides created chances, but neither was able to find the winner. In the end, it was a fair result that saw the two teams split the points.
How to watch
The contest won’t be broadcasted in the UK, but those in the United States will be able to watch the action unfold on ESPN+.