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Borussia Dortmund head into the weekend in third place in the Bundesliga table
BVB trail champions and league leaders Bayern Munich by a margin of three points
Werder Bremen are looking to close the gap to the European qualification spots
The odds for Werder Bremen vs Borussia Dortmund are brought to you by the FanDuel sportsbook, where a $1000 no-sweat bet is being offered to new customers who sign up.
BVB have been impressive going forward of late, while Werder know where the goal is too.
Back over 3.5 goals when Werder Bremen take on Borussia Dortmund this weekend. (+116)
Borussia Dortmund had the worst possible end to the first part of the Bundesliga season. Back-to-back defeats by Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach in November meant the mood around the club was gloomy when the campaign paused for World Cup 2022, which took place in the northern hemisphere winter for the first time ever.
Dortmund had three months to stew before the 2022/23 season resumed last month. At that point, they occupied the sixth spot in the standings and were nine points adrift of Bayern Munich in the first place. It looked like the best Dortmund could hope for was a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
That is still the club’s principal objective for the remainder of the campaign, but the Bundesliga title is suddenly back on the agenda. Dortmund are now just three points adrift of the top spot.
That is in part because Bayern have dropped points in three of their four matches since the restart. But it is also down to Dortmund’s consistency over that same period. A return of 12 points from 12 has renewed belief at Signal Iduna Park that BVB could yet push Bayern for the championship crown.
Their last two victories have been especially impressive. Dortmund ran out 2-0 winners at in-form Bayer Leverkusen at the end of January, before thrashing sixth-placed Freiburg 5-1 last time out.
Granted, an early red card shown to Kiliann Sildillia made their task easier last weekend, but BVB have played some excellent soccer over the last few weeks.
“We did it really well, defended well and allowed no single corner for Freiburg in the entire game,” Dortmund manager Edin Terzic said after the game. “We also scored five goals which made us happy but we know we have to do it again next week.”
Dortmund are renowned for their inconsistency, but Werder Bremen’s matches have been much harder to predict this season. Since the start of October, their results read as follows: won two, lost two, won two, lost four, won two.
A 2-0 victory over Stuttgart last weekend has kept Werder’s hopes of a top-six finish alive. It will be tough, however, for them to qualify for the Europa League (by finishing fifth or, in all probability, sixth) unless they can become more consistent.
Werder, a bit like their upcoming opponents, are something of a boom-or-bust team at present. They have not drawn a game since September. In fact, only Dortmund and Bochum have drawn fewer matches this term.
Werder do at least have a knack for bouncing back from disappointment. They were thumped 7-1 by Koln in an extraordinary result in January. Ole Werner were then edged out 2-1 by Union Berlin, but they recovered sufficiently to beat Wolfsburg and Stuttgart to keep their European hopes alive.
In fairness to Werder, they are exceeding expectations by even being in the mix for the top six. They might be an established name in German soccer, but they were playing in the Bundesliga 2 last season. Promoted as runners-up last term, their aim was simply to consolidate in the top flight in 2022/23.
There is very little danger of them suffering relegation, so Werder are ahead of schedule under the astute management of Werner. That could actually give them the edge in the race for Europe, as there are minimal expectations compared to the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig.
Every follower of the Bundesliga will be pleased to see Sebastien Haller back in action. Signed from Ajax last summer, the Frenchman was diagnosed with testicular cancer just weeks after his arrival in Dortmund, ruling him out of action for several months.
The striker, who was bought as the replacement for current Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland, scored his first goal for BVB in the 5-1 thrashing of Freiburg last weekend.
Haller’s return to the fold means Dortmund’s attack is looking much stronger than it did in the first part of the campaign, with Jude Bellingham, Donyell Malen, Marco Reus, Karim Adeyemi, Gio Reyna, Youssoufa Moukoko and Julian Brandt all contributing up top, either as starters or off the bench.
Werder, for their part, have scored in each of their last eight matches. They will look to cause Dortmund’s defense problems, particularly if they can break forward quickly after the ball changes hands.
Over 3.5 goals looks like the way to go in this one. Dortmund have their attacking mojo back and will be going all-out for the win, but Werder should not be underestimated - particularly in front of their own fans at the Weserstadion.
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Teams: Werder Bremen vs Borussia Dortmund
Location: Weserstadion, Bremen, Germany
Time: Saturday 11 February 2023, 9.30 AM EST
How To Watch: ESPN+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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