It is just about five months ago that 1. FC Köln and SV Werder Bremen last met at the RheinEnergieSTADION. It was Matchday 32 of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season as two sides fought for the right to play in European competition in the following season. What transpired was a spectacle for the sport of football. FC took a 3-2 lead into the halftime break and ended up winning the seven-goal thriller with a score of 4-3. Five months later, the same two teams find themselves in a relegation struggle.
The season start for Bremen was not the easiest variety. Alexander Nouri’s team began with defeats against Hoffenheim and Bayern. Additional defeats against Schalke and Gladbach, plus draws against Berlin, Wolfsburg, Freiburg, and Hamburg means Bremen are on just four points. They are, along with FC, one of just two teams without a win in the Bundesliga this season.
Werder fans are looking at this season with flashbacks of the previous season, when Bremen found themselves in 15th place after the first 17 matches of the season. During that time the team also found itself staring at a relegation place. Bremen then went on to go eleven matches undefeated and suddenly found themselves fighting for a berth in Europe. Although Werder did not end up in a high enough position to play in European football, the fans of Bremen will very much be looking to repeating the feats of the previous season.
The defensive area is one that Bremen strengthened in the summer through the signing of goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka. The Czech goalkeeper has allowed just nine goals thus far this season, which is much improved to the 21 Bremen had conceded at the same point in the previous season. The attacking area is where Bremen has struggled. Part of it may be due to the injury of star striker Max Kruse, who scored 15 goals for Bremen last season. With just three goals as a team thus far this season, Bremen are tied with Cologne as the worst attacking team in the league.