Heading to Bremen with new personnel

It is game no. 1 in the post-Holger Stanislawski era and the first game under new manager Markus Babbel. Tomorrow afternoon, 1899 Hoffenheim line up against Werder Bremen for a 3.30 pm kick-off in the Weser-Stadium.

New coach Babbel certainly is pressed for time in the challenge he now faces, namely to properly assess his team. He remained optimistic, however, about tomorrow's game and the future challenge with TSG. “Despite the short notice, I think we'll be well-prepared for the Bremen game”, said the Euro 96 winner. “I've been lucky in my career to be involved with some great teams. Winning is a lot more fun than losing, and winning is what we want to do with this team.”

Babel and Salihovic missing

Not a minute has been wasted in finding out as much as possible about tomorrow's opponents Werder Bremen. Assistant manager Rainer Widmayer has been busy studying video footage of Werder's strengths and weaknesses with the club's video analyst Johannes Spors. Luckily for TSG, the goalscoring exploits of Claudio Pizarro won't be a concern tomorrow, as the Peruvian, like Ryan Babel and Sejad Salihovic of 1899, misses the game through suspension. Pizarro has been directly involved in 20 of Bremen's 25 goals in the Bundesliga this season, scoring 14 ad assisting six. But coach Babbel will be focusing on his own team. As well as Babel and Salihovic, Andreas Ibertsberger, Matthias Jaissle, Sandro Wieser and Stefan Thesker are also missing from tomorrow's matchday squad due to injury.

Lakic's favourite team

Hoffenheim don't have the best of records against Bremen. They have lost six of their last eight against Thomas Schaaf's side, winning once and drawing once. But tomorrow should hopefully be the first step for the Sinsheim outfit in arresting that poor run of form. They do, after all, gave Srdjan Lakic in their team. The Croat has three goals in his last three games against Werder including two for 1. FC Kaiserslautern in a 2-1 win at the Weser-Stadium last season.

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