The Friday night lights of the Bundesliga will shine bright this week as Werder Bremen hosts Eintracht Frankfurt at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
The two sides could not come into this contest off more contrasting results.
Bremen were beaten badly on Sunday afternoon, losing 4-0 to TSG Hoffenheim despite the fact that Die Kraichgauer went into the game in the midst of an injury crisis. Die Grün-Weißen just never got going on the afternoon, and they deserved to lose the way they did.
Frankfurt, on the other hand, defeated top of the table Bayern Munich on Saturday. An early goal from Daichi Kamada gave Die Adler the lead before Amin Younes scored a spectacular second at the half hour mark. Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for the Bavarians, but Frankfurt were able to hold on to secure a fifth straight win.
As a result, many are expecting another victory for Frankfurt here, but you can never be too certain when Bremen are involved.
Neither team has too much to worry about on the injury front.
The biggest question mark for Bremen surrounds Ludwig Augustinsson, who is currently a doubt for the contest. It’s a similar situation for Patrick Erras, as it’s unclear if he will feature, while reserve goalkeeper Luca Plogmann has been ruled out.
Frankfurt will only be without defender Evan N’Dicka, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. The good news is frontman Andre Silva is fit once again, so expect the Portuguese international to get involved in one way or another.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Veljkovic, Toprak, Friedl, Gebre Selassie, Groß, Eggestein, Schmid, Agu, Fullkrug, Rashica
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp, Tuta, Hinteregger, Ilsanker, Toure, Rode, Hasebe, Kostic, Kamada, Jovic, Younes
Ones to watch
The experienced forward is finally fully fit once again, so expect Niclas Fullkrug to return to the starting lineup for Bremen.
Starting the season on the right foot with a hat-trick against Schalke, injuries then derailed Fullkrug’s campaign. A problem with his calf took him out for two months, and just as he was about to recover from that injury, he started suffering from an ankle issue.
It’s been a long road for the German, who has had to settle for cameos off the bench as of late, but Friday could finally see him back in the starting 11.
An old school sort of striker, Fullkrug isn’t the fastest, the strongest, or even the tallest player. However, he’s one of the smartest. He knows how to find space, and he knows how to capitalize on it, able to score with a variety of different finishes.
Die Grün-Weißen could certainly use him. Josh Sargent just looks out of it at the moment, so dropping to the bench for a few games might just be the best thing for him. Fullkrug offers a more direct route to goal as well, which could get the most out of those around him, especially the misfiring Milot Rashica.
Bremen need something to spark them back into life, and they’ll hope Fullkrug’s return can do just that.
The man of the match last weekend, Frankfurt will be hoping for more of the same from Amin Younes this time around.
Starting his career at Borussia Monchengladbach, he first made a mark on the global stage at Ajax. Developing there as many others in the past have, the German international played a key role in the team’s run to the Europa League final in 2017 before helping his country win the Confederations Cup the following summer.
Younes eventually made a move to Serie A side Napoli, signing on a pre-contract, but things had already started to go a bit wrong. The German was benched at Ajax, and even had a falling out with then-manager Erik ten Hag. His situation didn’t improve once in Naples, with injuries and limited game time resulting in the player losing form and confidence.
Thankfully for Younes, joining Frankfurt on loan has revitalized his career. The attacker has been key in the team’s rise up the Bundesliga standings, starting on a weekly basis as part of their high powered offense.
Drifting towards the left wing, he uses his diminutive stature and lower center of gravity to glide past defenders, opening up space for himself and teammates. The German knows how to shoot as well, which was demonstrated by his finish past Manuel Neuer last weekend.
Younes is in remarkable form, and there’s a good chance he’ll run riot once again on Friday night.
Last time out
The points were shared the last time these two sides faced off, with that matchup coming at the Deutsche Bank Park.
It was an entertaining first half that saw both sides threaten to hit on the counter. Frankfurt thought they had opened the scoring at the half hour mark, but a VAR review would call back Daichi Kamada’s rebound goal due to Andre Silva being offside before his initial effort.
The teams went into the break level at 0-0, but the score would change just six minutes into the second half as Bremen took the lead. Some quick passing led to Josh Sargent getting played in behind the backline. He made no mistake with the finish, slamming a shot past the goalkeeper at the near post after making it seem like he was going to aim for the far corner instead.
Frankfurt kept pushing forward, and they were eventually able to equalize in the 65th minute. Aymen Barkok won the ball high up the pitch before laying it off to Kamada. His low cross then picked out an unmarked Silva in the area, and the forward was able to get the ball over the line even though Jiri Pavlenka nearly made a spectacular save.
The home side nearly scored a late winner through Amin Younes, but he would be denied as the contest ended 1-1.
How to watch
The contest will be aired live on BT Sport 2 in the UK, while those in the United States will be able to see the game on ESPN+.