The quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal will finally come to a close on Wednesday as Jahn Regensburg hosts Werder Bremen at the Jahnstadion Regensburg.
This match was supposed to take place just over a month ago on March 2nd, but a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the Regensburg squad meant that the contest had to be postponed.
The two sides have been in similar form in the meantime. Die Jahnelf find themselves quite close to the 2. Bundesliga relegation zone, currently sat only 5 points ahead of 16th place, although they do have a game in hand. Bremen, meanwhile, have a bit more breathing room since they are seven points clear of the Bundesliga relegation-playoff, but they haven’t guaranteed safety just yet.
With little to look forward to in the league, it’s clear that both sides will want to win this game in order to continue their DFB-Pokal dreams.
Fortunately, neither side are dealing with too many injuries going into Wednesday’s contest.
Regensburg will be without Scott Kennedy due to a bone bruise, while fellow defender Sebastian Nachreiner is a doubt for the game.
There are concerns surrounding centerback Miloš Veljković for Bremen, while the likes of Luca Plogmann, Nick Woltemade, and Ilia Gruev are all unavailable for selection with various issues.
Jahn Regensburg: Meyer, Saller, Elvedi, Palionis, Wekesser, Stolze, Gimber, Besuschkow, Makridis, George, Albers
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Groß, Toprak, Friedl, Gebre Selassie, Eggestein, Möhwald, Bittencourt, Augustinsson, Sargent, Rashica
Ones to watch
If Regensburg wants any chance of pulling off another upset on Wednesday, then they’ll likely need Alexander Meyer to step up once again.
The hero in the round of 16 win versus FC Köln, the goalkeeper saved a penalty in regulation before making another stop in the shootout as Regensburg ultimately advanced. Meyer has developed quite the knack for coming up big from the spot, helping his side win on penalties in the 1st round of the tournament and also not conceding from either of the two penalties he’s faced in the league so far this season.
He’ll have added motivation going into this particular contest, as the 29-year-old is an academy product of Hamburger SV, Bremen’s bitter rivals. Meyer has been average in the 2. Bundesliga, but he’s been a star in the DFB-Pokal, and Regensburg will be hoping that he can save the day once again.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Josh Sargent’s absence this past weekend was certainly felt by Bremen.
Suspended due to yellow card accumulation, the American was unable to feature in his team’s match versus VfB Stuttgart. Niclas Füllkrug came into the lineup as a result, and although he didn’t have the worst game, he did mess up two potentially big chances.
His performance showed just what Die Grün-Weißen were missing without Sargent. The 21-year-old is much more than just a traditional striker, as his work on and off the ball is crucial. He brings energy to the side, tracking back to support the defense while linking up play in possession as well.
Sargent can still score, of course. He grabbed a goal in three straight games recently, which brought his Bundesliga tally up to five on the season, and he’s also scored twice in the DFB-Pokal.
Up against a Regensburg outfit who will likely sit back deep defensively, the pressure will be on Bremen to push forward and create chances before then converting them. With Sargent set to lead the line once again, Die Grün-Weißen will like their odds of doing just that.
Last time out
These two sides have only ever faced off once before, and that meeting came over 16 years ago as Bremen beat Regensburg in the 1st round of the 2004-05 DFB-Pokal.
How to watch
The contest won’t be aired in the UK, but those in the United States will be able to watch the match on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.