Wolf ahead #SVWB04: We have to stand firm

It's crunch time: The Werkself face serious opposition in the league run-in with three intense Bundesliga matches ahead. The next challenge for the team under head coach Hannes Wolf is at the Wohninvest Weserstadion on Saturday, 7 May (kick-off: 15.30 CST) against Werder Bremen. In spite of the apparently clear positions in the table, the team from North Germany must not be underestimated.

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After the successful end to a busy run of fixtures with the 3-1 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt 13 days ago, Bayer 04 had enough time to prepare intensively for the next challenge in the race for European qualification at Werder Bremen. Bayer 04 coach Hannes Wolf expressed extreme satisfaction with the quality of training in recent days: "Of course, we very much want to train because we can work out a lot of things on the training ground that are important in matches. We’ve succeeded in doing that – primarily from the point of view of how the team have shown over the past two weeks. We've had very good and energetic training sessions. Now it's all about taking the good performances in training onto the pitch against Bremen."


The fact that the game against the Green and Whites will not be a walk in the park for the Werkself must have become clear at the latest with the narrow defeat for Bremen against RB Leipzig in the DFB Cup semi-final (2-1 a.e.t.). Werder have lost the last eight Bundesliga matches in succession but the team led by head coach Florian Kohfeldt impressed in the battle for a place in the DFB Cup final with a committed performance last Friday that saw them compete on equal terms for 120 minutes with the opponents from Leipzig.

But Wolf is also aware of the threats posed by Bremen. The positions in the table ahead of the game were only discussed at the start of the week in Leverkusen but now there is increasing focus on the style of play of the forthcoming opponents: "Bremen are currently in a situation where they will fight for every inch of the pitch. They know what it's all about. They battled hard and were physical in the cup game against RB Leipzig. They fought for the second ball and got stuck in. We have to stand firm on Saturday."


Wolf has a wealth of options with the Werkself squad for the away game at Bremen. The Black and Reds will still have to manage without long-term absentees Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Santiago Arias, Julian Baumgartlinger plus Lars Bender and now Lucas Alario. On the other hand, several players used the last two weeks to return to the squad. Daley Sinkgraven, recently training on his own due to back problems, "will have to train with us again today and then he'd be back in the squad tomorrow. Charles Aránguiz, who has had problems with his Achilles for a while, has been protected a bit over the past two weeks. We've used the time in this phase for him to be able to recover – he will be available on Saturday. Sven Bender had problems with his foot. But he wants to grin and bear it in the last 15 days of his playing career. We'll have to see if he can play from the start or come off the bench."


Given the numerous options available to the Werkself head coach for the clash with Werder Bremen, Wolf has a number of tricky decisions to make. "We have the luxury in many positions of having very good players – that marks the squad out. What applies to our defence also applies to our attack. For me it's a challenge to make the decisions and field the right player at the right moment. But that's obviously great for the success of the club and the team. You can always see the quality of the team by the quality of the bench. We've got fantastic players in all positions," enthused the 40-year-old.

Match information:
Broadcasters: Sky and Werks11 Radio
Referee: The match officials will be announced on the day of the game

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