Werder Bremen vs Wolfsburg Bundesliga prediction and preview
Today's fixtures in the Bundesliga largely focus on the battle at the bottom of the league with Wolfsburg the only side in the top half of the table involved as they chase a spot in next year's Europa League.
Both these teams lost their last game out and both against Eintracht Frankfurt (0-3 and 1-2 respectively). Having had a decent run of form prior to that, the defeat for Bremen brought the reality of their relegation battle back into focus and with the likes of Mainz and Dusseldorf gaining points yesterday, taking something from this match could be crucial to their survival hopes. At the same time with 5 matches left to play, it's tempting to think that Bremen will have identified their upcoming fixtures against bottom side SC Paderborn next Saturday and then games against Mainz and Koln as the matches that are most likely to yield victories.
Bremen's mini-rival was based on a shoring up of what had been the leakiest defence in the league but their defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt suggested that some of those problems still exist. While they defended their 18-yard box fairly well from open-play, all 3 goals conceded on Wednesday night came from crosses into the box, 2 from dead-ball situations. In fact, Bremen now have the league's worst defence from set-pieces with 17 goals conceded this season and to make matters worse they are up against a Wolfsburg side who have scored 12 themselves from set-piece situations, the 4th best record in Germany's top-flight.
As such one of the chief threats to Bremen's defence could well be Wolfsburg midfielder Max Arnold who as a dead-ball specialist and leads his side's assist charts this season with 8 in total, 3 of which have come since the league's re-start. With the giant Dutch striker Wout Weghorst (1.97m) waiting in the middle it's probably fair to assume that Wolfsburg's tactics this afternoon will be to deliver as many crosses into the box as possible, simultaneously playing to their strengths and Bremen's weaknesses.
Wolfsburg are also at something of an advantage in having not had a midweek fixture giving them plenty of time to rest and prepare for this match. The race for 6th place and the final Europa League spot is incredibly tight and with 10-man Hoffenheim dropping points against another relegation candidate in Fortuna Dusseldorf yesterday, Wolfsburg will see this match as a great opportunity to get their noses in front.
Prediction: Wolfsburg to win at odds of 2.05 or better
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