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Weekend Premier League predictions

Premier League
By ESPN Staff

Bundesliga: Werder confident despite woeful form

HAMBURG, Germany, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen are confident normal service will be resumed at home to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday following a desperate run of three defeats.

Since winning their opening two league games, Werder have lost 2-0 to Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, 4-2 on penalties to the amateurs of FK Pirmasens in the German Cup and 2-0 at Chelsea in the Champions League.

Werder were awful in the first two of those defeats but they caused Chelsea real problems and if Miroslav Klose had enjoyed a bit more luck in front of goal they might have caused an upset.

As it is, they will look to take out their frustration on Stuttgart, who have three points from their opening three games and lie in 15th place.

'I think if we were in some kind of crisis you'd have seen us getting blown away by Chelsea,' Werder midfielder Tim Borowski said after Tuesday's match in London.

'That wasn't the case. Everyone could see that we were able to match them and at times we were the better team.'

For coach Thomas Schaaf, it will be a relief to know that Stuttgart are unlikely to provide such ruthless opposition as Chelsea.

'In the Bundesliga we aren't going to be punished for every mistake we make, which was the case on Tuesday,' the coach said.

Werder are just a point off the lead in the Bundesliga, with not even Bayern Munich boasting a 100 per cent record after three matches.

Bayern, who are level at the top on seven points with Nuremberg and Schalke, are at Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.

The biggest dilemma for coach Felix Magath will be the make-up of his forward line, after Claudio Pizarro and Roque Santa Cruz both found the net in a 4-0 win over Spartak Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Those goals could see senior strikers Lukas Podolski and Roy Makaay consigned to the bench.

Hamburg SV face a tricky game at Borussia Dortmund also on Saturday as they seek some much needed good news.

Hamburg, who finished third last season, have looked unconvincing in gaining three points from three games.

They are also out of the Cup following a 4-3 defeat by Stuttgart Kickers and lost 2-1 in their Champions League match at home to Arsenal on Wednesday after having goalkeeper Sascha Kirschstein sent off in the 10th minute.

Schalke, who enjoyed a 9-1 victory over Hansa Rostock's second team in their Cup debut last weekend, are at Hertha Berlin in one of two games on Sunday.

The fourth weekend of the Bundesliga season begins on Friday night when VfL Wolfsburg host Hanover 96. It will be Dieter Hecking's first Bundesliga game in charge of Hanover, following his move from Alemannia Aachen.