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Werder, Bochum and Union are in the fast lane in the Bundesliga

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Werder, Bochum and Union are in the fast lane in the Bundesliga

As of: February 22, 2024 5:54 p.m

Werder Bremen, Union Berlin and VfL Bochum got off to a strong start in the second half of the Bundesliga. While Union and Bochum want to further increase the gap below, the first in Bremen are already looking up.

Bayer Leverkusen is at the forefront. Clear. VfB Stuttgart is also at the top and Borussia Dortmund is also happily involved. We’re talking about the second half of the Bundesliga. After 22 match days, this reflects very well how the teams came out of the winter break. Bayern Munich are currently in tenth place. Instead, there are three teams in the top six that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be there. And those are Werder Bremen, Union Berlin and VfL Bochum.

Listen live and in the ticker: Saturday from 3:15 p.m. arrow right 23rd matchday arrow right

Like once under Otto Rehhagel

Winning away from home three times in a row and not conceding a goal – that hasn’t happened at Werder Bremen for a long time. 42 years to be exact. Back then, in the early 1980s, the trainer was called Otto Rehhagel.

The away strength in particular has pushed Werder to seventh place in the Bundesliga, meaning the Green-Whites are within striking distance of a place in the European Cup. In Munich, Mainz and Cologne it was recently 1-0 for Bremen.

Not so long ago Werder thought they were in danger of relegation. Now, after four wins in 2024, there are 13 points in 16th place. And the fifth could follow, because the upcoming opponent in the Weserstadion is called Darmstadt 98 and is bottom of the table.

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Njinmah: “Look only up”

Of course, coach Ole Werner doesn’t want to know anything about his team’s place in the European Cup. “I think it’s a development, a process,” said Werner: “We had big changes in the squad late in the summer, everything had to fall into place, now the boys are being rewarded.” And he further warned: “It’s the 22nd matchday – no time to look at the table yet.” Striker Justin Njinmah sees it differently. “Our eyes only look up,” he said. That’s probably Bremen’s new self-confidence.

Bjelica brings Union forward

At Union Berlin, new coach Nenad Bjelica has provided the famous breath of fresh air. When the Croatian took over as head coach of the “Iron” after the 12th matchday, they were second to last with seven points. Ten games later, Union has 24 points and is an impressive nine points ahead of 17th place and eight points ahead of 16th place. The team from Köpenick recently climbed to 13th place, which is their best placement since matchday 7.

Union has been unbeaten for three games. After a draw in Mainz there were two wins against Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim. And a third threesome could follow, because opponent Heidenheim is on an equal footing.

Virtues regained

Bjelica has managed to bring out Union’s core competence again. And in football that is, above all, work. The defense has become much more stable. There were no goals conceded three times in the second half of the season. It won’t matter to them that the “Iron Ones” come across as extremely minimalistic. In the seven Union games in 2024, there were only eight goals in total (goal difference of 4:4). With the four goals scored, Union collected eleven points. And the home strength is back. Under Bjelica, Union won all four games at the An der Alten Försterei stadium.

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It’s no surprise that 1. FC Union’s chest is bigger again. “I don’t think the world is all right. But the mood is significantly better than in previous months. You can feel that the team has more self-confidence,” says attacker Benedict Hollerbach: “We’re on the right track. We “We have regained some of the Union’s virtues. We defend together as a team. You can tell that the team has come together.”

The second half of the Bundesliga table – Top 6 place team points 1 Bayer Leverkusen 13 2 VfB Stuttgart 12 3 Werder Bremen 12 4 Borussia Dortmund 11 5 Union Berlin 10 6 VfL Bochum 8

Bochum celebrates, but Letsch warns

VfL Bochum is on “cloud nine” after the 3-2 win against FC Bayern Munich and is now determined to improve on Borussia Mönchengladbach. Above all, the team impressed across the board against the record champions in terms of fighting and running. Coach Thomas Letsch’s team has only lost once this calendar year. That was at Borussia Dortmund. The cushion on the relegation place is nine points thick, ten points in 17th place.

And the chances of another win are not bad, as opponents Mönchengladbach are last in the second half of the season. One problem, however, is Bochum’s weakness away from home. VfL only won one away game this season, that was the 2-1 in Darmstadt on matchday 10. The West Germans then remained without an away win five times in a row and only got two out of 15 possible points from these games. Coach Letsch remains sober as usual: “We have a certain cushion, but nothing has been achieved yet. We have to see this thing through to the end.”

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