Bayer Leverkusen vs. Werder Bremen DFB Pokal Final 2 PM ET Saturday May 29, 2009
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
The DFB Pokal Final (German Cup) is the last chance for both Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen to qualify for European play next season. Both teams have been disappointments in the Bundesliga, as Werder finished 10th and Leverkusen finished 9th. A win in this game at Berlin Olympic Stadium could give each team a positive end to the season.
Bayer Leverkusen began the season with promise in the Bundesliga, as they were in first place after 13 matches. After that it began to slip, as they were in 5th place at the halfway point of the season and after the Christmas break they were forced to play at the LTU Arena in Dsseldorf and the wheels came off only having one win at their temporary home. Their high point late in the season was beating power Bayern Munich in this Cup competition.
This is the 2nd time that Werder can qualify for European play next season, as they lost out in the first chance when they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk in Extra Time in the UEFA Cup final. Their 10th place finish in the Bundesliga this season was their lowest finish in 10 years and they have been in the top 3 in the past 5 years.
Werder has won the DFB Pokal 5 times and Leverkusen has won just once back in 1993.
Werder are the slight favorites in this match posted at 2.35 and Leverkusen are the underdogs posted at 2.90 with a draw at 3.30.
Leverkusen Recent Form:
5/23 Energie Cottbus 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen
5/16 Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 Bor. M’Gladbach
5/12 Bayern Munich 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen
5/8 Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Arminia Bielefeld
5/2 Schalke 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Werder Recent Form:
5/23 VfL Wolfsburg 5-1 Werder Bremen
5/20 Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Werder Bremen
5/16 Werder Bremen 1-3 Karlsruhe
5/13 Eintracht Frankfurt 0-5 Werder Bremen
5/ 10 Werder Bremen 2-0 Hamburg
Werder Center back Per Mertesacker and midfielder Daniel Jensen are out for this game because of injuries. Defender Henrique, midfielder Tomasz Zdebel and forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu are out for Leverkusen.
Also, Leverkusen young forward Toni Kroos may miss the game because of duty with the German Under 19 national squad, but he may make it back for the match.
Werder’s defense will have their hands full with the high scoring duo of Patrick Helmes and Stefan Kiessling.
Werder captain Frank Baumann will play his last match, as he is retiring after this season. Diego will also be playing in his last game, as he is transferring to Juventus after this season.
The goalie match up is a good one with Werder’s Tim Weise and Leverkusen’s Rene Adler. Both want to be the starting G in the World Cup next summer. If this match goes to a penalty shootout, which is good possibility, Weise has the advantage. He stopped 3 penalty shots in the in the UEFA Cup semifinals against Hamburg.
A key to this game will be which midfielder will control the center of the field with the youngster Torsten Frings battling veteran Simon Rolfes. Much like the goalie match both of these players are looking to start in the middle for Germany in next summer’s World Cup. The player that wins this match gives their team a great chance to win.
Another big battle in the midfield will be between Diego and new Bundesliga Brazilian stud Renato Augusto. Diego would love to win this game in his last game for Werder.
Werder’s big gun on offense is Patrick Helmes, who scored 21 goals this season in the Bundesliga, which was 4th best this season. Leverkusen center back Naldo will have to keep him from firing away and will have to know where he is on the pitch all match long.
This season these teams played twice and in the first game Leverkusen won at Bremen and then at home in the LTU Arena the match was a 1-1 draw.
Jason’s Pick: Both teams feature attacking lines, so this game may be a high scoring one. Werder has the advantage in the midfield and I think that will be the deciding factor in this match. I see Werder winning this match 4-2 in an exciting Cup final.