Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim
Wednesday 25 October, 19:45
I've been a football journalist for 20 years and yet the sport continues to surprise. Last nightcontained a nasty shock, as an Oostende side that had lost all five home games thrashed a Sporting Charleroi team that was second in the table 3-0.
With a head bleeding from all the scratching, I'll take you to northern Germany, because Werder Bremen are set to take on Hoffenheim in the German Cup.
Werder have a proud record in this competition, as they haven't been beaten at home in a cup game since 1988. Their current record in the Bundesliga isn't so good, with no wins from the first nine matches. However, I believe that some of their performances have deserved better, and they have some reasons to be confident of pulling off a shock against high-flying Hoffenheim.
Firstly, they pushed Hoffenheim all the way on the opening weekend of the season, before losing 1-0 courtesy of a deflected Andrej Kramaric goal at the Rhein Neckar Arena.
It's also worth noting that Werder have tightened up defensively this season. For a few campaigns now they have had one of the worst defensive records in the top flight, but they have only leaked nine goals in nine games.
At the other end they have really struggled, but star striker Max Kruse is nearing fitness, and could be involved as a substitute tonight. A suspension for Fin Bartels will take a struggling player out of the firing line, and could prove a blessing in disguise.
Hoffenheim have only won twice away from home all season. Once was against lower-league side Rot Weiss Erfurt (only 1-0), and the other occasion saw them come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Mainz. The Hoffe squad has been stretched by the Europa League, and I think a lack of mental freshness has contributed to the concession of late equalisers against Augsburg and Wolfsburg in the last two league games.
Big Sandro Wagner is struggling with adductor muscle problems, and his absence always seems to weaken the Hoffenheim attack. Julian Nagelsmann's side have lost three of their last six away games in all competitions, and with the Weserstadion crowd in full voice, that unbeaten home record could well be extended.
Recommended Bet
Back Werder Bremen Draw No Bet at 2.20

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