Bremen out to end Dortmund record run

BERLIN - Werder Bremen could not have picked a better moment to attempt to snap league leaders Borussia Dortmund's record-breaking run in which they have won 13 of 15 league matches this season.

On the brink of ending their 11-year partnership with coach Thomas Schaaf only a few weeks ago, Werder have found a new lease of life following their 3-0 drubbing of Champions League winners Inter Milan on Tuesday.

Dortmund will be a very different prospect, however. With two games left to play until the winter break, they can crown a spectacular first half of the season by breaking Bayern Munich's 2005-06 record of 44 points from 17 games.

Jurgen Klopp's team have 40 points and a win is imperative if the record is to be broken.

After being trounced 6-0 by VfB Stuttgart and 4-0 by Schalke 04 in November, Werder have hauled themselves back to 10th place on 19 points, and a win at Dortmund on Saturday would see them close in on the European spots for the first time in months.

Key striker Claudio Pizarro will most likely start following his recovery from a muscle injury. The Peru international came on as a substitute against Inter, netting their third goal.

Defender Mikael Silvestre also returned to action as a substitute against the Italians and will be looking to play against Dortmund.

"I felt really good though I am still lacking some fitness and I hope to help the team a bit more against Dortmund," Silvestre told reporters.

With versatile Brazilian midfielder Wesley and Tim Borowski still out injured, Werder will not have an easy task against a team that is chasing yet another Bundesliga record.


Judging from the way Klopp's young team has been playing so far, you would not put it past them.

In their 2-0 win at Nuremberg last week, Borussia's Lukasz Piszczek was their oldest outfield player at 25 and newly-crowned Germany international Marcel Schmelzer, at 22, their second oldest.

"There are worse things than having 40 points," said coach Klopp, who has vehemently refused to be drawn into speculation regarding their title chances.

"I am able to read the standings but I was also able to do that before the first matchday," he said, brushing aside any title talk. Their only defeat this season came on the first matchday.

Second-placed Mainz, 10 points off the pace, have an equally hard task when they host Schalke 04, the visitors buoyed by finishing top of their Champions League group on Tuesday and their win over Bayern last week as they seek to move away from the relegation zone.

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen, on 29 points, travel to out-of-form Hamburg SV while champions Bayern, in seventh place on 23 points, host FC St. Pauli, hoping their mid-week Champions League 3-0 win against Basel will finally rub off in the Bundesliga.