Bundesliga hasn't even started and trouble is already stirring in the North. Meeting third league team Sportfreunde Lotte, from a small town just over an hour south of Bremen, should have been an easy matchup for the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Yet, after 90 minutes, Lotte had them beat by 2:1. This was just another low blow in the recent Pokal history of Bremen, who were kicked out in the first round in four out of the last six years.
Their last couple of years in the Bundesliga weren't any better, either. Finishing 9th in 11/12 season, they haven't been on a single digit position at the end of a season since. Last season, they have been neck-deep in relegation battle until they finally saved themselves on the last game day. The fallout of the results saw sporting manager Eichin go, after he apparently lost an internal power struggle against coach Viktor Skripnik, who took over from previous coach Robin Dutt on game day 10 of last season.
It's been a wild ride, these last years with Werder, and seeing that tomorrow they are going to start their Bundesliga season against reigning champ and powerhouse Bayern Munich, will make sure that things won't get any easier.
Transfers in: (fees per transfermarkt)
Max Kruse (7.5 mil €, from Wolfsburg)
Florian Kainz (3.5 mil €, from Rapid Wien)
Robert Bauer (2.5 mil €, from FC Ingolstadt)
Thomas Delaney (1.0 mil €, from FC Kopenhagen)
Jaroslav Drobny (free, from Hamburger SV)
Felix Kroos (free, returning from loan)
My thoughts: Bremen don't have much choice when it comes to acquire new players. The club hasn't been successful in recent years and there seems to be a lot of internal disharmony going on. Their most notorious new guy is Max Kruse, former Wolfsburg striker who has fallen from grace in Volkswagen Central after several embarrassing escapades. Jaroslav Drobny, who has been a staple at their northern rivals Hamburg, has come to be a reliable backup for Wolff and Wiedwald - the current Bremen keepers.
Frankly, I can hardly see who will be making an impact here. I'm just as clueless as you guys.
Yannick Vestergaard (12.5 mil €, to M'Gladbach)
Anthony Ujah (11.5 mil €, to Liaoning FC)
Alejandro Gálvez (1.5 mil €, to SD Eibar)
Felix Kroos (free, to Union Berlin)
My thoughts: The biggest blow is clearly Vestergaard leaving. The towering Danish centre back was one of the few competent defenders in Bremen last season. He single-handedly kept the back four in something vaguely resembling "shape". Anthony Ujah, contributing more than 20% of their goals is another player who carried the team to now leave. Honorable mention for Felix Kroos, little brother of Toni, who also seeks his luck elsewhere.
I hate to say that, because I am actually quite fond of Bremen, but they are going to have a hard time staying in the league. Unless a few of the numerous nameless additions to their roster have an awesome breakout season OR their 37 year-old striker legend Claudio Pizarro surprises the crowd with yet another season of Glanz und Gloria, I don't see them make it this year.