Bremen meets Dortmund

The Jensen brothers could be part of a very rare Bundesliga event this weekend as only once before have two non-German brothers faced each other in a German league match.

The Jensen brothers could be part of a very rare Bundesliga event this weekend.

Only once before have two non-German brothers faced each other in a German league match.

On Saturday, Daniel Jensen's Werder Bremen plays older brother Niclas' Borussia Dortmund in a match neither team can afford to lose.

Bremen, the defending champion, lost last weekend 2-1 at Arminia Bielefeld to drop to eighth place, eight points behind new leader Bayern Munich.

Then came the midweek disappointment at home, when Bremen managed only a 1-1 tie against Inter Milan and failed to secure a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Bremen still has a chance to advance in the last group match at Valencia.

Dortmund is in bigger trouble. German champion just two years ago, the club is battling a huge debt of nearly euro120 million ($A199.67 million) and is trying to ease through a front-office shake-up.

Down in 13th place in the standings, Dortmund desperately needs to start moving up in hopes of reaching a lucrative European competition next season.

"It's going to be a special game," said Niclas Jensen, 30, five years the senior.

Midfielder Daniel Jensen said: "We've never played against each other before."

The pair play together on Denmark's national team and have 47 caps between them.

For the sibling showdown to actually occur, Daniel has to return to Bremen's starting lineup. It's not unlikely, although he came off the bench against Inter.

"If I play, I am going to be the winner of this showdown," Daniel said.

Niclas, a defender, was playing the role of older brother before the match in Bremen.

"If I have to foul him, I will," he said. "He's just another player in this match. After the game, we'll talk about everything."

With Niclas on the left side of Dortmund's defence and Daniel usually on the right side of Bremen's midfield, there could be plenty of contact.

The only other time two non-German brothers faced each other in the Bundesliga was in 1986. They were Wayne and Dean Thomas of England and Wayne's Hannover beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 1-0, with Dean being sent off.

Bremen players have conceded that their minds were more on the Champions League this season than on defending the Bundesliga title and they've already lost five games - one more than in the whole of last season.

"I know that they don't find the Bundesliga a nasty burden," said general manager Klaus Allofs. "It's not a matter of attitude. The team just doesn't have the stability and the confidence it had last season."

Coach Thomas Schaaf has been forced to reshuffle his team frequently because of injuries and inconsistent form.

Schaaf will be without striker Nelson Valdez, who is beginning a two-match suspension. Valdez has been effective coming off the bench.

Bayern Munich (29 points), which seized the lead for the first time last weekend, defends the No.1 rank against newcomer Mainz, which is seventh, seven points behind.

Second-place Wolfsburg (27) hosts Hertha Berlin and will welcome the return of playmaker Andres d'Alessandro, but fellow Argentine, defender Facundo Quiroga, is suspended.

In other round 15 matches on Saturday, Kaiserslautern plays Freiburg, Bochum meets Nuremberg, Borussia Moenchengladbach hosts Hamburger SV, and bottom-place Hansa Rostock faces Bayer Leverkusen.

Sunday provides two clashes involving top-ranked teams when fifth-placed Hannover (24 points) hosts the team above them, Stuttgart (26), and third-placed Schalke (27) plays sixth-placed Arminia Bielefeld (23).
Source AP