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Apr 24, 2021 at 2.30pm UK at Stadion An der Alten Försterei
Union BerlinUnion Berlin
3-1
Werder BremenWerder Bremen
Pohjanpalo (50', 53', 67')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Union Berlin vs. Werder Bremen - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Union Berlin and Werder Bremen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After going down to a sixth successive defeat in midweek, Werder Bremen have been dragged back into the fight to avoid demotion and now meet Union Berlin on Saturday still desperately in need of a win.

A trip to the Alten Forsterei, where Union are unbeaten in the Bundesliga since September last year, represents a challenging task for Florian Kohfeldt's strugglers, who are now just four points above the bottom three.


Match preview

Werder Bremen's Kevin Mohwald pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Having lost six straight league games to slip perilously close to the Bundesliga drop zone, Werder Bremen - who only survived relegation via a playoff win over Heidenheim last season - arrive in the capital this weekend with several points still required to secure safety.

Florian Kohfeldt's side will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last year's nail-biting conclusion this term and could go a long way to booking their spot on the start line for 2021-22 with just a fifth league victory on the road.

After being crushed 4-1 by Borussia Dortmund last weekend, Bremen lost against close rivals Mainz on Wednesday despite dominating possession and firing off 20 shots at goal in a frustrating 1-0 home defeat - the latest in a six-game spell where they have conceded 15 times at an average of 2.5 goals per game.

That result now sees them only four points above virus-hit Hertha Berlin (who currently occupy the dreaded playoff spot), despite having played two games more than their capital-based counterparts.

They meet Hertha's more modest neighbours on Saturday, with one eye on the DFB-Pokal semi-final versus RB Leipzig next Friday, though Kohfeldt must surely prioritise their perilous Bundesliga predicament rather than the still-distant opportunity of ending the season with some silverware.

FC Union Berlin's Marcus Ingvartsen celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Despite their midweek defeat at Dortmund, Union Berlin continue to perform above expectations this season, with a 2-1 win against Stuttgart last Saturday keeping their hopes of a first-ever European qualification alive coming into the campaign's final throes.

Last season was the club's first in Germany's top flight, so finding themselves up in eighth place with only four fixtures to go represents a fine achievement for Urs Fischer and company. A top-half finish is now all but assured for Die Eisernen, who have recorded six wins and eight draws at home to date - conceding just 13 goals in the process.

This week, their inimitable Stadion An der Alten Forsterei headquarters will host relegation-threatened opponents, who would have expected to be sitting above Union in the table, and the home side have only lost there once all season long.

Still in the hunt for a place in Europe next season - just four points behind an expensively-assembled Bayer Leverkusen side who sit sixth - a third win from four meetings with Bremen could help the unassuming Berliners take one step closer to continental competition next term.

Fischer now fields an XI for the third time in a week, so some squad rotation may even come into his thinking ahead of this weekend's game, as one of the high points in Union's history could be yet to have a fairytale ending.

Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Werder Bremen Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Werder Bremen form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L


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Team News

Werder Bremen's Omer Toprak reacts on the ground on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Werder defender Christian Gross returns from suspension and is set to take the place of Milos Veljkovic, who misses out with a broken nose, while experienced centre-back Omer Toprak is still unavailable with a calf problem.

Young forward Nick Woltemade is also out with a knee injury and Leonardo Bittencourt is considered a doubt to start at the weekend.

Joint-top scorer Josh Sargent had a goal disallowed during Wednesday's frustrating defeat, so will hope to add to his five-goal tally as he once more leads the Bremen attack, alongside in-demand Milot Rashica and club stalwart Niclas Fullkrug.

For Union, only Sheraldo Becker, Leon Dajaku and Anthony Ujah are confirmed absentees, while Liverpool loanee Taiwo Awoniyi is doubtful due to a thigh issue.

Urs Fischer may consider bringing Joel Pohjanpalo in for Croatia Under-21 forward Petar Musa in attack, following a blank away to Dortmund, while Marius Bulter could feature on the wing, with Keita Endo's place potentially under threat.

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Schlotterbeck; Trimmel, Gentner, Andrich; Ingvartsen, Kruse, Bulter; Pohjanpalo

Werder Bremen possible starting lineup:
Pavlenka; Gross, Moisander, Friedl; Gebre Selassie, Eggestein, Mohwald, Augustinsson; Sargent, Rashica; Fullkrug


SM words green background

We say: Union Berlin 1-1 Werder Bremen

Union have built a fortress on home soil, so are unlikely to give up all three points against a toiling Bremen side still searching for a reversal in momentum before it is too late.

The visitors, though, can pick up a valuable share of the spoils, as Milot Rashica has hit the net twice in his last three games and can help Werder compensate for their woefully leaky defence on Saturday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Union Berlin vs Werder Bremen

Union Berlin
86.5%
Draw
8.1%
Werder Bremen
5.4%
37
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Milot Rashica in action for Werder Bremen on June 27, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern31225486404671
2RB Leipzig31197555253064
3Wolfsburg31169654322257
4Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt311511562471556
5Borussia DortmundDortmund311741066422455
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen31148951351650
7Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach311210959461346
8Union BerlinUnion Berlin31111374738946
9Freiburg31118124546-141
10Stuttgart31109125251139
11Hoffenheim3199134550-536
12Mainz 053198143450-1635
13Augsburg3196163147-1633
14Hertha Berlin3079143849-1130
15Werder Bremen3179153451-1730
16Arminia Bielefeld3186172351-2830
17FC Koln3178163256-2429
RSchalke 04Schalke3027211876-5813

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