Werder gear up for make or break games

October 27, 2008

BERLIN, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The results have yet to come, but Werder Bremen believe their form is returning just in time for Tuesday's clash with second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, the first of three home games that could define their season.

Bayern Munich's poor start to the season overshadowed Werder's own problems this term but now Juergen Klinsmann's side are finally getting their act together last season's runners-up are in danger of getting left behind.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hanover 96 left Werder in 10th place with just 13 points from nine games, and without a Bundesliga victory in a month.

After taking on Leverkusen on Tuesday they host sixth-placed Hertha Berlin on Saturday followed by a Champions League game against Panathinaikos.

Win all three and they will be back in the title race and with a good chance of qualifying for the knockout phase of the Champions League.

"We couldn't beat Hanover but it was a step forward all the same," coach Thomas Schaaf told reporters. "The performance was fine. We were certainly a lot more secure than we have been of late."

Defence has been Werder's problem this term, with the team having conceded 20 goals already.

That statistic should have Bayer Leverkusen licking their lips. Leverkusen, who briefly led the standings after winning on Friday against Cologne, have scored 22 goals this season, eight of them by in-form Germany striker Patrick Helmes.

Hoffenheim are the new leaders after winning 3-0 at home to Hamburg and they should have little trouble staying at the top when they visit Bochum on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich, up to fifth after beating VfL Wolfsburg 4-2 on Saturday, bid for a third successive league win away to improving Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.