Werder Bremen looking to evade knockout blow against Bayern Munich

After Bayern won Round 1 of the double header, Bremen have a chance to exact swift revenge on Wednesday. The six-time German Cup winners are out to avoid a repeat of 2016 as they look to book their ticket to Berlin.

Saturday's 1-0 loss to Bayern has Bremen wounded and on the ropes. With the German Cup final and not three points up for grabs on Wednesday, Werder are confident of bouncing back on home soil to avoid a knockout blow in their biggest game of the 2018-19 campaign.

"We'll pull ourselves together and on Wednesday show them that, in a game of football with the Weserstadion behind us, we can score goals — it'll be something different," said head coach Florian Kohfeldt, who felt that Milos Veljkovic's 58th-minute sending off "decided the game". 

Nevertheless, there were positives for the 36-year-old to draw from Round 1 of their league-and-cup double header as Bayern had to rely on a deflected long-shot from Niklas Süle to hand Bremen their first defeat of 2019: "We defended heroically, but we want to create more and be braver with the ball going forward."

That may be easier said than done given that talismanic club captain Max Kruse's inclusion is in doubt after bruising his thigh on Saturday. "We'll monitor him intensively for two days," said Kohfeldt. "We hope that he'll be available."

Read more: Max Kruse should be back in the Germany team

Kruse has been instrumental in a remarkable campaign that saw Bremen score in every league game until the loss to Bayern. Together with Milot Rashica, the 31-year-old has produced what some would argue is the best form of his career having had a hand in 24 of Werder's 68 goals in all competitions this season.

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TOP STORIES | 12.04.2019

Max Kruse - Bremen's life-insurance policy

Out to avoid a repeat of 2016

Having gathered invaluable information, Kohfeldt's ability to dust his side down, sharpen their focus and get them ready for another grueling 90 minutes will be a further measure of a man who has impressed at nearly every turn so far.

Bremen's transformation from relegation candidates to European contenders under Kohfeldt has been remarkable and, while a win over Bayern wouldn't be the crowning glory, it would be another impressive feather in the promising coach's cap.

The last time Bremen reached the final four of Germany's sole cup competition back in the 2015/16 campaign, it was die Münchner who clinched a 2-0 win on home soil. A Thomas Müller brace stamped their ticket to the capital.

Ten members of Bayern's match day squad from three years ago are still on the books in Bavaria, while the six-time DFB Cup winner's line-up is virtually unrecognizable in comparison to present day. The only survivors are Theodor Gebre Selassie, Fin Bartels and Claudio Pizarro, who called for Werder "to keep hold of our skill and concentration" on Wednesday. 

Four points behind the top six and facing a tough Bundesliga run-in — Bremen face Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Hoffenheim and Frankfurt in their final four league games  the cup is the path of least resistance as Werder look to qualify for Europe. 

A win over Bayern would not only keep that dream alive, but prove that they deserve to end their eight-season absence from continental competition.

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Freiburg 0 - 4 Borussia Dortmund

Second placed Dortmund cut Bayern Munich's lead to a point with a confident and classy display. Jadon Sancho (left) was on the end of a lovely team move to open the scoring before Marco Reus (center) and Mario Götze (second from right) made it three. Paco Alcacer stepped off the bench to drill home a late penalty.

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Hertha Berlin 0 - 0 Hannover

There was plenty of sweat and toil but little in the way of inspiration in this battle of two clubs at the wrong end of the table. Hertha at least ended a run of five consecutive league defeats but Davie Selke spurned two good late chances to win them all three points. Hannover have been on a similarly wretched run but remain bottom of the table with time running out.

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Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 2 RB Leipzig

A crucial battle in the race for the Champions League places ended with an away win. Marcel Halstenberg's penalty put the guests in front and the Leipzig defender doubled the score just after the break. Gladbach did manage to get one back, through Alessane Plea, but despite piling on the pressure, they couldn’t get the equalizer. Leipzig’s Champions League place is as good as sealed.

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Augsburg 6-0 Stuttgart

A thumping at the hands of his former club saw Stuttgart boss Markus Weinzierl get the chop with the club in danger of relegation. Rani Khedira, Andre Hahn, Philipp Max (twice) and Marco Richter (twice) were on the scoresheet for Augsburg. Their new coach, Martin Schmidt, now has six points in his two games in charge of the Bavarian side. It was Stuttgart's heaviest defeat this season.

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Schalke 2 - 5 Hoffenheim

One club grateful for Stuttgart's shocking form is Schalke, who took another pasting in a season to forget. In form Ishak Belfodil lashed in an early opener for Hoffenheim, who are making another late run for Europe, before adding the fifth after 80 minutes. In between, Andrej Kramaric, Adam Szalai and Nadiem Amiri helped themselves. Daniel Caligiuri and Guido Burgstaller added consolations.

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Bayern Munich 1-0 Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich did not have an easy time against Florian Kohfeldt’s players, but the Green Whites could not cope with Milos Veljkovic’s dismissal just before the hour mark. The home side took the lead in the 75th minute through a deflected Niklas Süle shot. Werder Bremen’s unbeaten record in 2019 has come to an end.

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Leverkusen 2-0 Nuermberg

Despite controlling the game, Peter Bosz’s players struggled to find the net at first. Until the 61st minute, that is, when Lucas Alario headed the ball in from inside the box. Kevin Volland sealed the deal in the 86th minute. Three important points for Leverkusen in the fight for European football.

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Mainz 3-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Mainz confirmed safety for another season with this win. It took Jean-Philippe Mateta just 35 seconds to score Mainz’s opener, this season’s quickest goal. Düsseldorf pulled one back through Watford loanee Dodi Lukebakio before Mainz took over in the second half.. A fine Karim Onisiwo finish in the 67th minute regained them the lead before Mateta added his second late on.

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Wolfsburg 1-1 Frankfurt

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