After being well-beaten by Borussia Dortmund last time out, Wolfsburg will look to get back to winning ways when they entertain Werder Bremen on Friday night.
The hosts come into this fixture on the back of a 3-0 defeat. Jeffrey Bruma was the culprit on MD21 when his own-goal opened the floodgates for BVB, with Ousmane Dembélé and Łukasz Piszczek also getting on the scoresheet.
Despite the signings of Paul-Georges Ntep and Yunus Malli, Valérien Ismaël’s Wolfsburg still look lost going forward, scoring just four goals in their last six fixtures. Perhaps they’re still integrating into a side that lost Julian Draxler to Paris Saint-Germain, but a club of Wolfsburg’s stature, who won the league in 2009, ought to be doing much better.
Alexander Nouri on the other hand is slowly changing the fortunes of Werder Bremen since he was announced as the head coach in September. Granted, they’ve only won four in that time, boasting a 30.77% win rate, but they’re finally playing like a team.
The signing of Serge Gnabry in summer has given Bremen a focal point for attack. His eight Bundesliga goals this season makes him their top scorer, whilst his goal against Mainz on MD21 opened the scoring. Winter arrival Thomas Delaney doubled their lead giving Nouri and Bremen their first victory in 2017.
Despite being their only win in this calendar year, Bremen are coming into this fixture on form, whilst they look like scoring. The 19 points that they’ve amassed this season may be a club record low, but if they keep up their form, they should have no problem in beating the drop. Wolfsburg on the other hand have just 22 points. Again, an all-time low after 21 Bundesliga games, but unlike Bremen, they’re having real problems at the back.
This season has often seen Ricardo Rodriguez being deployed as the left-sided centre-back of a three, whilst Luis Gustavo and Bruma make up that three. Yannick Gerhardt has often featured on the left side for Wolfsburg since his arrival from Köln, which isn’t his favoured position. Until Ismaël starts playing players in a role their suitable with, they’re going to struggle against relegation for the remainder of the season, especially with the bottom three teams picking up points.
It does’t look like it will get any better for Ismaël soon either. He will be without Askhan Dejagah; Philipp Wollscheid; Joshua Guilavogui & Rodriguez for this fixture.
Come Friday evening, Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen may have swapped positions in the Bundesliga, should the visitors win by a two-goal margin.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 0-2 Werder Bremen
By Daniel Pinder.