Our next opponents: Werder Bremen on the way up

Sunday brunch at the BayArena: The Werkself face Werder Bremen on Sunday 17 March at the unusual time of 13.30 CET. The team coached by Florian Kohfeldt are currently in the ascendant and they come to Leverkusen on the back of several impressive runs – albeit with a major problem in one position.


The mood on the banks of the Weser is on the up. After three draws in succession, the Green and Whites beat Schalke 4-2 on Friday and moved up to ninth in the table. Werder are now just three points off seventh place that could be enough to qualify for the Europa League under certain circumstances. A decisive factor in Bremen's dreams of European football: two impressive runs. Werder have not lost in the last eight games in the Bundesliga and are unbeaten since the winter break – the only team in the league in addition to Eintracht Frankfurt. Bremen are on their own with one run. Neither of the star-studded teams from Munich or Dortmund nor the lauded attacking sides from Frankfurt, Hoffenheim and Leverkusen have the most reliable attack in the league. Instead, it is the team under Florian Kohfeldt. Bremen are the only team in the Bundesliga to have scored at least one goal in every game this season.


A third impressive run continued with the home game against Schalke. Werder captain Max Kruse converted a penalty to make it 2-1 – it was his thirteenth goal in succession from the penalty spot in the  league. Only two players in the history of the Bundesliga have scored more penalties on the run without missing one. Kruse is not only indispensable due to his  strength of nerve from the penalty spot. Speaking to Eurosport after the Schalke game, Werder coach Kohfeldt (pictured above with Max Kruse) said: "It was yet another game where everybody could see how important Kruse is to us." The 30-year-old has stood out at Bremen as a playmaker and striker and is both the top goalscorer and top provider – and that in an attack where the coach Kohfeldt has a number of options up front: The extremely fast Milot Rashica, equal top goalscorer at Werder with six goals this term, the hard-working Martin Harnik, the two  happy-go-lucky youngsters Josh Sargent (19) and Johannes Eggestein (20) plus stalwart and club legend Claudio Pizarro. The 40-year-old had to relinquish the mantle of record foreign goalscorer in the history of the Bundesliga to Robert Lewandowski at the weekend but in the middle of February he earned his place in the Bundesliga record books as the "oldest goalscorer in the history of the league' with a last-minute strike against Hertha BSC. It remains to be seen if he will travel to the Rhineland at the weekend. Pizarro suffered a thigh injury on Wednesday. Kohfeldt does have another quality striker if required: The nippy Fin Bartels made his comeback after a 15-month injury lay-off as a late substitute against Schalke and he offers Kohfeldt another threat against the  Werkself from the bench .


All Bayer 04 supporters will be happy to recall the previous meeting this season when the Werkself secured a runaway 6-2 victory at the Weserstadion in Bremen. Werder have not conceded anywhere near as many goals this term as against the free-flowing Leverkusen attack in that game but the otherwise stable team does have an Achilles heel in terms of their defence. After the Schalke game, Florian Kohfeldt did not mince his words in talking about left-back Ludwig Augustinsson. "That's really not on. I've rarely seen anything like that," said the Werder coach about the Swede after he turned his back at a corner so that Schalke's Breel Embolo was able to score to make it 3-2. A problem for the game against Bayer 04: Milos Veljkovic picked up a fifth yellow card and is now suspended for match at Leverkusen. As his back-up Sebastian Langkamp is still injured, Kohfeldt has a major problem in central defence with the vacant position alongside Niklas Moisander probably requiring a non-specialist solution with the introduction of the full back Marco Friedl on loan from Bayern Munich.


Bremen have a young coach and a true role model in Kohfeldt who wants to take the club from relegation candidates to European competition qualifiers. A key element for Kohfeldt, who previously coached Werder youth teams and the U23s: a comprehensive youth policy that promises to continually bring homegrown players through to the first team. A textbook example of that approach is midfielder Maximilian Eggestein who has even caught the eye of the Germany coach. Eggestein's younger brother Johannes has also shone this season with three goals and another homegrown youngster Jean-Manuel Mbom (19) has recently progressed to the senior squad.


Werder look incredibly solid, the flexible attack is always capable of producing a goal or two. If the defence can be consistent then a return to the European stage after nine years could become a reality – either through seventh place or by reaching the DFB Cup final. Werder are still in the domestic cup competition thanks to a win on penalties against BVB and they face Schalke 04 in the quarter-finals.

Related News

Europa League - 29.11.2023

Alonso ahead of #BKHB04: ‘Play to win’ in snow and minus temperatures

The Werkself are looking to seal winning the group against Häcken on matchday five in the UEFA Europa League. Ahead of the game against the Swedish Cup winners on Thursday 30 November (kick-off: 21.00 CET), head coach Xabi Alonso talked about clear aims as well as the busy fixture list up to the winter break – and he recalled a special trip to Gothenburg, tomorrow's venue, as a teenager. Nathan Tella also fielded questions from the journalists on Wednesday night where he spoke about the importance of the Europa League to the club and himself.

Show more
Bayer 04 - 29.11.2023

Bayer 04 extend contract with top talent Francis Onyeka to 2027

Bayer 04 Leverkusen have given U17 player Francis Onyeka a long-term contact. The club has agreed a deal with the 16-year-old to 30 June 2027.

Show more
eSports - 29.11.2023

#Bayer04eSports: Four points on triple matchday

#B04eSports team suffered the first defeat of the season on matchday five in the VBL Club Championship 2023/24. Last night’s other games ended in a win and a draw. The Black and Reds are now fifth in the North West division.

Show more
Bayer 04 - 28.11.2023

Bayer 04 seal long-term deal with Simon Rolfes

Bayer 04 Leverkusen back continuity at the top of the club. The Bundesliga and Europa League participants have extended the contract with sporting managing director Simon Rolfes to 2028. The former midfielder and long-standing Werkself captain took over this position as the successor to Rudi Völler in the summer of 2022. He was previously the sporting director at Bayer 04 for three and a half years.

Show more
Bayer 04 - 28.11.2023

Florian Wirtz wins October Goal of the Month award

The fans have decided: The goal scored by Florian Wirtz to make it 1-0 for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2-1 home win against SC Freiburg was voted Goal of the Month for October with 45 % of the votes cast. The 20-year-old Werkself player won the vote conducted by ARD-Sportschau by a clear margin ahead of second-placed Harry Kane (Bayern Munich).

Show more