Pop quiz, hotshot: which team has spent the most seasons in the Bundesliga? The Mensa-botherers among you may have deduced that, with this being a liveblog about a match between Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen, the answer is likely to be either a) Werder Bremen or b) Bayer Leverkusen.
This is the 57th season since the Bundesliga was introduced in 1963-64. Bremen have been involved in 56 of them, one more than Bayern Munich and Hamburger SV. They’ve won it four times, too, so it’s pretty shocking to see the mess they’re in. (You may not have been aware of this mess until two minutes ago, but it’s okay: we’re all Bundesliga experts now.)
Bremen are second from bottom, have been for a while. They are nine points off complete safety and five off a relegation play-off place. And while they have two games in hand, one of them tonight, their points-per-game ratio so far this season suggests those matches are worth precisely 1.5 points.
They have a tough game tonight against a Leverkusen side whose form between the winter break and spring break was almost as good as Bayern Munich’s. It’s probably too late for a title challenge but they are are right in contention for next season’s Champions League. Leverkusen have some outstanding young players, including Jonathan Tah, Leon Bailey and the Kai Havertz, who may fill in up front in the absence of the injured Kevin Volland.
Bremen might benefit from the lack of a home crowd, because their form at the Weserstadion has been abysmal. They haven’t won a Bundesliga game there since the start of September; they haven’t even drawn one since the start of November. Not even a two-month absence due to a global pandemic can polish those statistics.
Kick off 7.30pm BST, 8.30pm CET.