Bundesliga preview: Bremen face daunting Dortmund
Werder Bremen are the next club charged with halting the Borussia Dortmund juggernaut in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Runaway leaders Dortmund are ten points clear and unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions, last tasting defeat during a Europa League match at home to Sevilla in September.
The unbeaten run in the Bundesliga stretches even further, with a 2-0 loss at home to Bayer Leverkusen on the opening day in August still their only defeat of the league campaign.
A 2-0 win away to Nuremburg on Sunday maintained a six-match league winning streak and with second-placed Mainz 05 going down 2-1 in Frankfurt, the considerable lead stretched further.
Despite their commanding position, coach Jurgen Klopp is conscious that Dortmund have won nothing yet.
“Of course I can read the league table. But all it says is that we have had a very successful season so far, and we would like to continue that,” Klopp said after the victory in Nuremburg.
“Never before in my life have I had to deal with a title challenge. And math was never my strong point.”
“It’s certainly better to be top at Christmas than not.”
If Dortmund can win their two remaining matches before the winter break, they will break Bayern Munich’s record for the most points accumulated before Christmas; 44 during the 2005/2006 season.
Werder, faced with the task of stopping Dortmund, sit 10th following a difficult first half of the season that almost brought about the end of Thomas Schaff’s 11-year reign as manager.
The 49-year-old, who has been with the club as a player, coach and now manager for 32 years, won clemency with a 3-0 win at home to Italian and European title holders Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Schaff will hope his players can carry that form into Saturday’s daunting trip to the Westfalenstadion.
At the head of the chasing pack, Mainz 05 will look to keep pace with a return to winning ways at home to Schalke on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Freiburg are at home to bottom side Borussia Monchengladbach.
Defending champions Bayern Munich – 17 points off the pace after losing to Schalke last week – host promoted strugglers St Pauli at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen travel to Hamburg, while Cologne are at home to Frankfurt.
Wolfsburg are away to Kaiserslautern and Nuremburg make the trip to Hoffenheim.
On Friday, fourth-placed Hannover 96 are home to struggling VfB Stuttgart.