After enduring a tough start to the season, Viktor Skrypnyk's Werder Bremen side will take on André Schubert's spirited Borussia Mönchengladbach at Borussia-Park on Saturday evening, expecting to get their season back on track.
Two consecutive losses at the hands of reigning Champions Bayern Munich and FC Augsburg have condemned Die Werderaner to the last position in the Bundesliga table, with a terrible goal difference of minus seven.
Borussia Mönchengladbach, on the other hand, have won one and lost one out of their two games of the season, including a home win against rivals Bayer Leverkusen and a shock defeat to newly promoted SC Freiburg.
A new beginning for Bremen?
The clash offers both sides to make a whole new beginning in Bundesliga, with a hope to improve their form, as European and cup clashes beckon.
Bremen, who snapped up Max Kruse from VfL Wolfsburg this past summer, have scored just one goal in two games but have conceded seven times, despite bringing in certain defensive acquisitions such as Niklas Moisander, Robert Bauer and Fallou Diagne. The 6-0 loss to Carlo Ancelotti's Bavarian giants saw Bremen conceded early goals as Robert Lewandowski ran rings around the defense.
The 4-1-4-1 formation was utlised again at home to Augsburg, with Florian Grillitsch starting as the sole holding midfielder. The Austrian got the only goal of the game for Bremen as two goals in the second half helped Augsburg complete an impressive comeback.
Skrypnyk's men were the only top-flight casualty of the DFB Pokal first round as a 2-1 defeat to third-division outfit Sportfreunde Lotte had ousted the men in green out of the tournament.
It is about forgetting the past for Schubert
As far as Gladbach are concerned, they themselves would love to forget the previous games and would be intent on making a fresh start on Saturday. A 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad had handed the Foals their second loss in the all competitions, following a shock defeat at Dreisamstadion against Freiburg.
An impressive 2-1 win over last season's third placed finishers Bayer Leverkusen had ignited hopes of making a good start to the season after last campaign's early disaster under now-Nice manager Lucien Favre, who was axed following a horrendous run of results.
Schubert is using the three at the back shape quite frequently, but against City, Gladbach were forced into reverting to a familiar four at the back after City's onslaught had kickstarted. The game against Bremen would provide a slightly easier platform to get the 3-5-2 back working.
Andre Hahn, who had a terrific game against Leverkusen, is enjoying a breakout season with Patrick Herrmann currently injured and the 26-year-old would be someone Bremen have to keep an eye on.
Both have a fair share of injuries
Injury woes have been troubling both sides and both will head into the game with some important exclusions, especially Werder Bremen. Max Kruse is still out due to ligament problems and is set to spend a spell on the sidelines, much like Gladbach's Herrmann, who's out with an adductor injury.
New signing Niklas Moisander is still out and is nursing some vexing knee problems, forcing Skrypnyk to start Fallou Diagne and Lamine Sane at centre-back. Fin Bartels and Phillip Bargfrede too are unlikely to feature at Borrusia Park, while defender Alvaro Dominguez and former Leverkusen man Josip Drmic too are ruled out of the upcoming clash against Die Werderaner.
Gladbach have to get their attack going
Bremen, who have conceded nine goals in three games, are in tatters at the back. Diagne, who has arrived from Stade Rennais, has endured a tough start to life under Skrypnyk and the partnership of Sane and the Senegalese hasn't gone according to plan. Luca Cardiola's return to Bremen has been rather unimpressive and the Italian has suffered in almost all games that he has played in.
The trio of Hahn and Raffael, who have been deployed up front rather predominantly in the new 3-5-2, have shown glimpses of good movement and link-up and would be a key heading into the game. The dynamic Mahmoud Dahoud returned to action against Pep Guardiola's dominant outfit on Wednesday and although the presence of old foe Ilkay Gundogan made things tough for the Syrian-German, but he would be another vital cog in the wheel for Gladbach, considering Bremen's defensive frailties.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: (3-5-2) Sommer; Elvedi, Christensen, Vestergaard; Dahoud ,Strobl, Wendt, Stindl; Raffael, Hahn
Werder Bremen: (4-1-4-1) Wiedewald; Gebre Selassie, Diagne, Sane, Cardiola; Grillitsch; Yatabare, Junuzovic, Bauer, Bartels; Johannsson