HANOVER: Werder Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt has welcomed his side’s status as favourites in Thursday’s Bundesliga relegation/promotion play-off home leg with Heidenheim.
“Fundamentally speaking, I like being the favourites, because it implies that your fate is in your own hands,” he told a news conference Wednesday. “It’s on us to be focused, to concentrate and show our quality on the pitch.”
Bremen sneaked into 16th on the last day of the Bundesliga season courtesy of a 6-1 win over Cologne while Fortuna Dusseldorf lost their last match to be relegated directly.
Heidenheim held on to third in the second division despite losing champions Arminia Bielefeld as Bremen’s northern rivals SV Hamburg also lost to miss out on the play-off.
“I wasn’t hoping for any particular team,” said Kohfeldt. “Now it’s Heidenheim and all I can say is: Be careful!
“They finished third in the league. Just like before, we can feel the tension. We are desperate to beat them.”
Kohfeldt dismissed any significance of Bremen beating Heidenheim 4-1 in the German Cup earlier in the season, saying it was a long time ago and his team has since changed.
Defender Kevin Vogt is suspended to be the only absentee from the Bremen squad.
The return match in Heidenheim is on Monday. – dpa