As Kevin Hatchard looks for a fourth odds-against winner in a row, we’re starting our weekend in Germany, watching two teams that are struggling for form.
“Schalke have scored seven goals in 17 league games, while Werder have only scored multiple goals in three of their last 22 top-flight matches.”
Fear to reign in clash of underachievers
A true nail-biter in Iceland last night, as Keflavik took a 2-1 lead at Vestri after 66 minutes, but the fourth goal we needed didn’t arrive until the fifth minute of stoppage time. Helgi Jonsson, take a bow. We’ll head to Germany now to see the primetime clash between Schalke and Werder Bremen.
There’s humiliation, and then there’s Schalke-style humiliation. The Royal Blues were atrocious in last Friday’s 8-0 drubbing at Bayern Munich. Defensive basics were neglected, especially after half-time, and former Schalke keeper Manuel Neuer was rarely troubled in the Bayern goal. The manner of the defeat has moved Royal Blues coach David Wagner a little closer to the precipice, although with the club strapped for cash, they might not be in a position to actually fire the former Huddersfield Town boss.
Schalke have now gone a club-record 17 Bundesliga games without a win, a run that stretches back to January. During that sequence, Die Königsblauen have scored a pitiful tally of seven goals. While former Eintracht Frankfurt striker Goncalo Paciencia could prove to be an astute acquisition, but one wonders if he’ll be starved of surface, as other Schalke strikers have been in recent seasons.
Werder Bremen also have their fair share of problems. They survived the drop by the narrowest of margins last season (they won a play-off with second-tier side Heidenheim on away goals) and although they won all seven of their pre-season games and the DFB Cup game at Jena, they were completely outplayed in last weekend’s 4-1 home defeat to Hertha Berlin. The most alarming aspect of the defeat was the attacking display, which lacked a cohesive pattern or plan, producing an xG figure of 0.67. Like Wagner, Werder boss Florian Kohfeldt is under the microscope.
Last season, Werder scored just 42 goals in 34 league games, and 11 of those were netted in 5-1 and 6-1 wins in the run-in. They have only scored multiple goals in three of their last 22 Bundesliga matches.
I think both teams will be a bit circumspect early on, and there was only one goal the last time they met at the Veltins Arena. I’ll back Under 2.5 Goals here at [2.08].
Source: UK Soccer News