Contrasting priorities heading into Bayern vs. Bremen double header | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.04.2019
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Contrasting priorities heading into Bayern vs. Bremen double header

Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen are set to meet twice within the space of five days. As both clubs look to keep fate in their own hands, their league and cup doubleheader could prove decisive.

Facing Bayern Munich twice in quick succession is an unenviable fate for any Bundesliga side, but, after the DFB Cup semifinal draw, it's the one that befell Werder Bremen, whose unbeaten start to 2019 is on the line.

While children up and down the country will be gorging on chocolate over the Easter weekend, Bayern will be hoping to feast on more points as their hunt for trophies continues.

Still aiming for their 11th league-and-cup double, Bayern have a one-point advantage in the Bundesliga title race heading into this weekend and know that any slip-up could prove costly.

"It's been a funny season and a lot has happened already," said Manuel Neuer, who talked to the press on Wednesday despite an injury ruling him out until the start of May. "We've got to stay fully focused - we're top of the table and have got to continue playing like we have done in our last few games."

Fußball Bundesliga Werder Bremen vs. Bayern München | Manuel Neuer (picture-alliance/dpa/D. Hecker)

Manuel Neuer will miss the game through injury

Since Matchday 13's 2-1 win over Bremen earlier this season, the German record titleholders have dropped points just twice in the league – a 3-1 loss to Leverkusen and a 1-1 draw with Freiburg.

While Neuer had set himself the "realistic target" of returning for the Matchday 33 clash with RB Leipzig, the undisputed number one also outlined exactly what Bayern are expecting of themselves during the season run-in. "We've got to give it our all until the very end of the season to finish ahead of Dortmund and reach the DFB Cup final."

While it wouldn't be unfair to suggest that Bayern will prioritize a seventh straight league title to deny Borussia Dortmund getting a foot in the door, success in the cup will be of greater importance for Bremen given their nightmarish run-in.

Florian Kohfeldt's charges are yet to lose a game since the turn of the year, but after the double header with the German record titleholders, they travel to Düsseldorf before facing Dortmund, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig in their final three games.

One point off Hoffenheim, Bremen's hopes of qualifying for Europe by finishing in the top six are still very much alive but the cup is undoubtedly their best route into continental competition. On Wednesday they will welcome the Bavarians to the Weser Stadion, but first they must travel to Munich.

Fußball Bundesliga Werder Bremen Bayer Leverkusen (Getty Images/Bongarts/L. Baron)

Florian Kohfeldt's Werder Bremen are yet to be beaten in 2019

"It's always nice to go back to Munich, but I'm not expecting a special reception [from the Bayern fans]," veteran striker Claudio Pizarro told the press before cheekily adding: "If I get a chance to play it may not be that enjoyable for them."

Enjoyable is certainly not a word that can be used to describe Werder's most recent trips south. Bayern have won their last seven home games against Bremen, the most recent three by a 17-0 aggregate score line.

Nevertheless, Florian Kohfeldt's side wants to upset the odds. Pizarro admitted it "wouldn't be easy" taking three points off his former side, but the thought relishes the veteran.

"Anything is possible," continued the Peruvian, who has been offered a role as club ambassador by Bayern when his playing career ends. "Our team is full of confidence. Everyone can see how we're playing and producing as a collective. I think Bayern know it won't be easy. It would be a huge source of joy if we can achieve that as Werder – after all Bayern could still be champions."

Elsewhere on Matchday 29

- Borussia Dortmund will travel to Freiburg in a bid to keep their title hopes alive. All eyes will be on Lucien Favre's selection given the list of injuries and the nervy game against Mainz last time out.

- After their surprise win away at Eintracht Frankfurt, Augsburg will host fellow Bundesliga strugglers Stuttgart. A win for Martin Schmidt's players would secure another season in the top flight. For Stuttgart, this is possibly their last chance of avoiding the relegation playoff.

- Hertha Berlin will play their first game since announcing that coach and fan favorite Pal Dardai will leave his post come the end of the season. At home against out-of-form Hannover, Hertha will be hoping to win again after five straight defeats.

Matchday 29 fixtures (All times CEST)

- Bayern Munich vs. Werder Bremen (Saturday, 15:30 p.m.)

- Bayer Leverkusen vs. Nuremberg

- Augsburg vs. Stuttgart

- Mainz vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf

- Gladbach vs. RB Leipzig (Saturday, 18:30 p.m.)

- Schalke vs. Hoffenheim (Saturday, 20:30 p.m.)

- Freiburg vs. Borussia Dortmund (Sunday, 15:30 p.m.)

- Hertha Berlin vs. Hannover (Sunday, 18:00 p.m.)

- Wolfsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Monday, 20:30 p.m.)

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