Werder Bremen vs Hamburg Preview

The northern Germany derby between Werder Bremen and Hamburg will be one of the most important since the two club's disputed a UEFA Cup semi-final in 2009.

Hamburg's 63rd minute goal.

Although only three points are at stake like in any other Bundesliga match, a victory in this derby would mean so much more to Hamburg coach Michael Oenning.

Indeed, a defeat is not something the under-fire coach can even bear to contemplate.

"We are in a phase in which we simply must get points," he said.

"We are in a cut-throat competition, but we are competitive and we have to prove that.

"We do have a chance of winning in Bremen."

The northern Germany club have picked up just one point from their first four matches of the season, which is why a maiden victory is so important for both for the club and the coach, whose job is reported to be on the line.

"It is a chance for us to write some positive headlines again," he added. "We want to win."

By contrast, Bremen have made an excellent start to the season with three wins taking them up to third place, behind leaders Bayern Munich only on goal difference.

However, they have just lost defensive stalwart Per Mertesacker, who has moved to Arsenal, and while coach Thomas Schaaf has already found a new captain in Clemens Fritz, he must now find a new central defender.

"We do have numerous alternatives to replace him in defence," he said.

One of those options is Naldo, who has not played a competitive match in more than a year, although he has been collecting some match practice in a series of friendly matches played in recent weeks.

"Every single training session is doing him good, but we will decide among the coaching team whether he is ready or not," revealed Schaaf, who will definitely be without Tim Borowski, who has an ankle injury.

Hamburg striker Paolo Guerrero has recovered from a back strain which he picked up on his return from international duty with Peru in midweek.

His partner in the attack will be Mladen Petric, who was on target twice in a 2-2 friendly draw against Lucerne in midweek.



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