“We're a force at home”
Markus Gisdol on…
… the opposition:
Bremen have been very attacking at home recently and have often played with two strikers and a diamond in midfield. It's unclear as to how they'll line up away from home because we don't know how they've improved over the winter break. Therefore, preparations ahead of the game won't be very easy. It means that we'll have to focus heavily on our own game and our strengths.
There aren't any injuries to report other than Niklas Süle. Jin-Su Kim has now returned from the Asian Cup and we have checked his medical situation. He's doing well and has coped with the journey. Nevertheless, he's having to deal with a twelve-hour time difference so he has jetlag. We can't say whether he'll be able to play or not. We'll have to wait and see before we make a decision.
…the current situation:
We're in a good physical condition and we're able to give everything in all three games this week. You can't compare this game to the one in Augsburg. Our performance wasn't bad and we could have come away with a point. But that's the advantage of having multiple games in a week because you can bounce back straight away and that's what we intend to do. We really want to win. We're a force at home and have put in a lot of good performances there so far.
The upcoming game:
The teams have played each other on 14 occasions – 13 times in the league and once in the DFB Cup. TSG's return from those games? One win and five draws, with Werder winning the other eight. The only Hoffenheim win came in the 2010/11 Bundesliga season – Demba Ba, Peniel Mlapa, Vedad Ibisevic and Sejad Salihovic were the goalscorers that day as TSG won 4-1. Three of the four games since Markus Gisdol took charge have ended in draws.
The opponents' form:
Werder won their first game of the second half of the season 2-0 against Hertha BSC and continued their good run of form, which began at the end of 2014 under new manager Viktor Skripnik. At the moment, Skripnik is the most successful coach in the club's history. Granted it's not the most reliable of statistics because it's only based on nine games, but Skripnik has won 56% of those matches (a record) and his side has picked up an average of 1.78 points per game. Otto Rehhagel averaged 1.77 points per game during his spell in charge of Werder and is therefore now only the second-best manager in the club's history.
The key battles:
Werder are an extremely physical side under Skripnik and have two players who have had a hand in a lot of league goals this season in the form of Franco di Santo and Zlatko Junuzovic. However, Junuzovic will miss the game after picking up his fifth yellow card on the weekend, so TSG will not have to worry about the threat he poses from set pieces in particular. Hoffenheim have to try to impose their own style of football on Bremen at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. That means that they'll have to use their own strengths to their advantage.