Coach Florian Kohfeldt has given Werder Bremen a new lease of life after one of their weakest starts to a Bundesliga campaign. Though Bremen’s tally of 15 points from the first 17 games is still their worst ever return at the halfway stage in a season, 10 points from seven games under Kohfeldt is twice as many as predecessor Alexander Nouri managed in the first 10 outings of the campaign, so things are looking up.
Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann has just one injury concern heading into 2018 (see team news) but the 30-year-old’s main headache will be how to replace striker Sandro Wagner, who departed for Bayern Munich in the January transfer window. Forward Mark Uth, who has also agreed a move away from the club in the summer, will likely reprise his role up front for the time being – he is the club’s top scorer with nine goals so far – and should be supported by Andrej Kramaric and loanee Serge Gnabry.
Werder Bremen against Hoffenheim hasn’t failed to be an entertaining affair for the neutrals in recent years, with both teams scoring in all but one of the last 15 meetings between them. With Max Kruse expected to get the nod up top for the hosts, this looks set to be another explosive affair. Kruse has scored four goals (a hat-trick and a single) over Werder Bremen’s last two home outings in the Bundesliga, and with Hoffenheim conceding two or more in each of their last four competitive outings on the road, backing both over 2.5 goals and Werder Bremen to score over 1.5 team goals looks to be worth a few quid.
How will this one end though? Losing Sandro Wagner to Bayern Munich in the transfer window is a huge blow to Nagelsmann, and whether Mark Uth’s heart will be in the game after agreeing a move to Schalke next summer is yet to be seen. Bremen have found stability under their new coach and even beat Borussia Dortmund not long before the winter break, so the hosts look a decent price for the upset this weekend given the visitors’ turmoil. Our prediction: a 2-1 Werder Bremen win.
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