- Its playoff time in Germany as Werder Bremen and Heidenheim meet in the first-leg this Thursday
- At stake is a place in the 2020/21 Bundesliga
- We preview the game, look at the odds and offer a pick below
The Bundesliga promotion playoff involves two teams – the one finishing 16th and the team that finishes third in Bundesliga 2 – who play each other over two legs. The first leg takes place on Thursday, July 2, KO 2:30 pm EST, with Werder Bremen entertaining Heidenheim.
We’ll preview the game, look at their form, and see if we can find some value for the bettors.
Werder Bremen vs Heidenheim Bundesliga Playoff Odds
|Werder Bremen||-1 (-116)||-188||Ov 3 (+101)|
|Heidenheim||+1 (-104)||+547||Un 3 (-121)|
Odds taken June 30
Werder Sneak Into Playoffs
On a dramatic final day of the Bundesliga season, Werner’s thumping 6-1 home win over FC Cologne was enough for them to sneak into the playoff as Fortuna Dusseldorf, who began the day in 16th, went down 2-0 at Union Berlin. Dusseldorf will play their soccer in Bundesliga 2 next season but for Bremen, they’ve been offered a lifeline they simply have to take.
To have ended the season in such good form will mean Bremen come into this first leg with supreme confidence, and to have delivered a performance of that quality when the pressure gauge was on 11 was an outstanding achievement. Goals from Yuya Osako (2), Milot Rashica, Niclas Füllkrug, Davy Klaassen and Joshua Sargent turned an afternoon that promised to be full of nerves and tension into a comfortable one, with Union Berlin doing the rest.
Heidenheim will come into this one with the intention of staying in the tie ahead of the second leg at the Voith-Arena next Monday
But it didn’t all boil down to final day heroics. Since the restart, Florian Kohfeldt’s team had looked like a team determined to pull clear of the drop zone and, despite an expected 1-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich, a 5-1 win over Paderborn had put them in a position where their fate was in their own hands. Unfortunately for them, a 3-1 loss in Mainz on the penultimate week of the season took that away from them but they were still able to see the job through.
"We will definitely go in as favourites as the Bundesliga side and after the results from the weekend. Nevertheless, we can’t be overconfident as Heidenheim have had a good season."
— SV Werder Bremen EN (@werderbremen_en) June 28, 2020
Final Day Drama in Bundesliga 2
Heidenheim’s place in the playoff was also decided in dramatic fashion on the final day. Despite playing poorly away at Arminia Bielefeld – 39% possession and only one shot on target – and losing 3-0, Hamburg’s home implosion again SV Sandhausen ended in a 5-1 defeat and denied them the chance to leapfrog Heidenheim and sneak into third.
With both protagonists losing, it all boiled down to what happened one week earlier when Frank Schmidt’s side beat Hamburg 2-1 at home, with Konstantin Kerschbaumer scoring a late 94th-minute winner. Little did either team know at the time, but that goal was to be the season decider.
Throughout the campaign, Heidenheim did most of their good work at home, and away from the Voith-Arena they won just four of their 17 games, scoring 13 goals and conceding 23. This makes their trip to the Weser Stadium particularly tricky and it’s worth noting they haven’t won in their last six away games – drawing two and losing four – and have failed to score in five of those.
Werder Bremen vs Heidenheim Head-to-Head Stats
|34 / 8 (Bundesliga)||League games played in 2019/20 / Wins||34 / 15 (Bundesliga2)|
|56||Seasons in Bundesliga||0|
|€133.75m||Total market value of squad||€18.63m|
One Win Apiece in Previous Meetings
In terms of team news. Werder will be without injured midfielders Nuri Sahin and Kevin Möhwald but have welcomed back striker Niclas Füllkrug who, after being out for nine months, has played in Bremen’s last four games. His goals have been a major factor in them making the playoffs, with two vital goals in just 109 minutes of soccer since last September. Heidenheim will almost be at full strength, but winger Maximilian Thiel misses out through injury.
These two teams have only met twice before, both times in the DFB-Pokal (the German Cup) with Heidenheim winning 2-1 at home in 2011 and then, more recently, Bremen winning 4-1 on their home patch last November. In last autumn’s clash, the one most relevant to Thursday’s game, Bremen went 4-0 up and were cruising before the visitors scored a late consolation.
Big Ask for Heidenheim
Ultimately, Heidenheim will come into this one with the intention of staying in the tie ahead of the second leg at the Voith-Arena next Monday (6th). Even a narrow defeat will be an acceptable outcome for the visitors whose good home form will give them a shout if the tie is still within their grasp.
Historically, it’s the Bundesliga teams that triumphs over two legs – they’ve won eight of the last 11 playoffs – and while I fancy Heidenheim to make life tough for Bremen in the second-leg, even in an empty stadium, it’s hard to see the home team coming unstuck on Thursday.
Pick: Werder Bremen to win (-188)