Relegation favorites SV Werder Bremen seemed to have defied the predictions of most Cassandras. Seven rounds in, the Hanseaten sit in 9th place on 10 points. Below them sit five teams certifiably facing crises.
Trainer Florian Kohfeldt knows how quickly matters can shift. After Bayern, Wolfsburg, Stuttgart, Leipzig, and Dortmund are also on the schedule before Christmas.
At the Friday presser, the 38-year-old head-coach had mixed news on the injury front.
Lead-stiker Niclas Füllkrug (calf) and Milos Veljkovic (hip abductor problems) remain sidelined as Werder prepare to enter the lion's den. It would appear as if Florian Kohfeldt will have little choice but to build a defense around Ömer Toprak and place young striker Josh Sargent alone up top when squaring off against Bayern; two solutions that have been inconsistent at best.
There was nevertheless some good news to report as the trainer attempted to put a positive spin on the challenge awaiting his squad. Ludwig Augustinsson, who can play virtually everywhere on the left, had been cleared for action after recovering from a thigh injury. Crucial midfielder Maxi Eggestein also utilized the break to fully recover from a contusion suffered against Köln.
With respect to the club's most talented, and at the same time most controversial player, Kohfeldt put a positive spin on Milot Rashica.
"His physical condition ranges from good to very good," Kohfeldt noted, "I've witnessed some good progress in training. I'm very confident that we shall all see the the Milot Rashica we want to see again very soon."
The harrowing 2019/20 campaign clearly still in his head, Kohfeldt found himself in no mood to make any positive guarantees as his team headed into a very difficult set of fixtures.
The trainer reported that he "almost spilled my coffee" upon opening up his morning Wesekurier newspaper to find a story in which Marco Freidl promised "20 [league] points by Christmas."
"That's obviously a player's opinion," Kohfeldt told the assembled media, "The coach thinks from game to game. I was talking that shit last year too."
In their narrow avoidance of relegation last season, Werder did not reach 20 points until the 27th matchday.