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2018-19 Bundesliga Preview: Werder Bremen

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VVV Venlo v Werder Bremen - Pre Season Friendly Match Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Not that long ago Werder Bremen was one of Germany’s top teams, regularly finishing near the top of the table. However the former German powerhouse, 4 Bundesliga titles and 6DFB Cup victories, has fallen behind in recent years and they have found themselves in the lower half of the table more often than they’d like. With promising young coach Florian Kohfeldt at the helm they look to improve and leave the nether regions of the table behind them.

Last Season

Bundesliga: 11th place - 42 points (10W-12D-12L)

DFB Cup: Quarterfinal - 4:2 loss in extra time to Bayer Leverkusen

Werder Bremen had an awful start to the season with 11 games without a victory. The northern Germans found themselves dug in the relegation zone until they had to act after yet another loss to Augsburg on matchday 10. Alexander Nouri got replaced by young and inexperienced coach Florian Kohfeldt, a risky move but it paid of for Bremen.

Kohfeldt did lose his first game in charge against Eintracht Frankfurt but followed it up with 3 wins in 4 games. It took Bremen until matchday 21 to finally climb out of the relegation zone but once they left it, Bremen made a steady climb up the ranks. Werder finished the season in 11th place and ultimately 9 points clear of the relegation places.

Transfers

Transfers in:

  • Davy Klaassen (CM) - FC Everton - 13.50€ million
  • Yuya Osako (ST) - 1.FC Köln - 4.50€ million
  • Felix Beijmo (RB) - Djurgardens IF - 3€ million
  • Martin Harnik (ST) - Hannover 96 - 2.25€ million
  • Stefanos Kapino (GK) - Nottingham Forest - 0.3€ million
  • Jan-Niklas Beste (LB) - Borussia Dortmund - 0.25€ million
  • Kevin Möhwald (CAM) - 1.FC Nürnberg - free transfer
  • Claudio Pizarro (ST) - 1.FC Köln - free transfer

Transfers out:

  • Thomas Delaney (DM) - Borussia Dortmund - 20€ million
  • Jérôme Gondorf (CM) - SC Freiburg - 1.30€ million
  • Ulisses Garcia (LB) - BSC Young Boys - 0.8€ million
  • Laszlo Kleinheisler (CAM) - FC Astana - 0.75€ million
  • Leon Guwara (LB) - FC Utrecht - 0.6€ million
  • Sambou Yatabaré (CM) - Royal Antwerpen - 0.2€ million
  • Robert Bauer (RB) - 1.FC Nürnberg - Loan
  • Zlatko Junuzovic (CM) - RB Salzburg - free transfer
  • Fallou Diagne (CB) - Konyaspor - free transfer

The losses of Delaney and Junuzovic weigh heavy for Bremen, not only have they lost their entire central midfield but also two vocal leaders of the team. Replacing those two in the same window was a tall order for Bremen and they hope their record signing, Davy Klaassen, can help soften the blow.

In addition they got two talented young fullbacks with Beijmo and Beste to help with their depth at both left and right back position. A bit more surprising is the fact that they added three more strikers in Osako, Harnik and Pizarro when they already have Kruse, Johannsson, Eggestein, Bartels and Sargent. The return of club legend Claudio Pizarro is a neat story but at 39 years he will probably not appear in many games.

What to expect in 2018/19

Bremen possibly have a tough season ahead of them. Once Florian Kohfeldt took over for Alexander Nouri the team drastically improved and played some decent attacking football but their young coach will need to get creative to replace Delaney and Junuzovic. Furthermore he will have to sort out their situation at striker, diametrically opposed to Dortmund right now they actually have 8 (!) strikers on their roster.

On the other hand Bremen do have a number of intriguing young talents on the roster like Veljkovic, Friedl, Beste, Beijmo, the Eggestein-brothers and Sargent. If some of them take the next step in their development the northern Germans could actually be a bit of a surprise team of the season but it could also horribly backfire and they’ll find themselves in the relegation zone once again.

Historically Werder Bremen has always been an attack-minded team, with their overabundance of strikers and as a neutral fan you can only hope they continue their trend from the end of last season and continue to develop their young players.

Prediction: Mid-table finish

Werder Bremen are likely in for a similar season than the one they just had. They have enough talent on the roster to surprise some teams but they are also an extremely young an inexperienced squad. Maximilian Eggestein will probably be relied upon in central midfield to take the next step in his development and it wouldn’t be surprising if young American Josh Sargent would get his first professional minutes. In the end Bremen will probably have some up and downs throughout the season and finish somewhere around mid-table.