Preview: FC Bayern Munich – SV Werder Bremen

Justin Separator August 24, 2016

Werder already had some problems in the last seasons. Promoting Viktor Skripnik to head coach only provided a short improvement. A long term development was neither visible in the league table nor from a tactical point of view. With 1.37 points per game after 67 games Werder’s coach is better than his predecessor Robin Dutt (1.02 ppg in 45 games), but way behind club legend Thomas Schaaf (1.65 ppg in 644 games). Werder Bremen’s glory days are a long way back and the coach is not the only reason.

But Skripnik wasn’t able to create a flexible system that fits the squad, enabling sustainable success. The first round loss in the DFB Pokal against Lotte already showed how the team is lacking structure. The player selection does play a part here. Even though a double pivot of Junuzovic and Fritz has often times been inefficient, Skripnik is unwilling to change it.

The only player who could provide some structure to the game was Max Kruse. Repeatedly he dropped back and took over the midfielder’s tasks. He was the only player between the lines. Of all things Kruse got injured and will miss the next three months. The important zones are often not occupied in the Werder game and efforts to overload are also not visible. These problems have not been solved during the last seasons. Not creative with the ball and without structure against the ball.

On Friday Bremen will face an opponent willing to control the game. Thus Werder is expected to show a different face. In the last Bundesliga matches against Bayern they dropped deep into a 5-4-1, waiting for a counter-attack and errors by Bayern, but oftentimes too timid and passive. Especially the distances were a problem. In the DFB Pokal semi-finals Skripnik had his team line up in a 4-4-2 and a bit higher up the field. They also lost this game 2-0, but they played better. Nevertheless it was clear how Skripnik’s team is unable to keep its compactness for longer spells.

If Bremen are able to show a well-organized defence, they would have the best chance in years to leave Munich with points in their pockets. Bayern are still missing automatisms and experience in their new approach, thus currently giving away many chances to score for their opponents. If Werder manages to keep a clean sheet for a long time, it will get interesting. In the game against Jena Ancelotti’s team were at time unable to control the game when they dropped back. Jena had some chances, which they didn’t use. Coming from a compact defence could be the key to success against Bayern, but if Bayern get their offense rolling, Werder won’t be able to fend them off for long.

Viktor Skripnik steht zu Recht in der Kritik. Wie lange wird er noch Trainer bleiben?(Foto: Matthias Hangst / Bongarts / Getty Images)
Viktor Skripnik is rightly criticized. How much longer will he be at Werder?
(Photo: Matthias Hangst / Bongarts / Getty Images)

Statistics

Last five games against SV Werder Bremen

All-time record

  • Bayern won 59 out of 113 official matches. Bremen won 28 times. 26 draws. Bayern scored 223 goals, Werder 113.
  • Bayern lost their last game against Werder in the 2008/09 season, 5-2 at home in the Allianz Arena. Since then Bayern won 14 out of 17 games (3 draws), winning the last 13 in a row.
  • Historically Werder is Bayern’s bogey team. No other team has more wins against Bayern (26) and only Borussia Mönchengladbach scored more goals (121) than Bremen (119).

Fun Facts

  • Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan went out of the UEFA Cup in the round of 32 against Bremen in the 2008/09 season. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Claudio Pizarro scored a brace in a 2-2 that secured Werder’s trip to the next round.
  • Robert Lewandowski had 7 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 games against Werder.
  • Only Clemens Fritz and Claudio Pizarro have ever won a game for Werder against Bayern.
  • Bremen didn’t score a single goal in the last five games against Bayern.
  • Werder lost all seven of their last games in Munich. Before that they were undefeated for five games in the Allianz Arena with one win and four draws between 2007 and 2010.
  • The record champion scored 26 goals in his last five home matches against Bremen (5-0, 6-0, 5-2, 6-1 and 4-1).
  • Bayern were trailing by 0-1 in 42 games against Werder Bremen, more than any other team.
  • Both teams played their 100th Bundesliga match against each other last season. It was only the fourth matchup to reach that count.

Five bold predictions

  1. Robert Lewandowski will score.
  2. Werder Bremen will score one goal.
  3. Bayern won’t score in the first 30 minutes.
  4. Bayern will score at least three goals.
  5. One Bayern goal will come from a dead ball situation.

Two out of five predictions were correct in the debut at the DFL Supercup against Borussia Dortmund.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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