And so it all comes down to the final matchday. Werder Bremen have to beat Cologne while hoping Fortuna Düsseldorf doesn’t get a result against Union Berlin in their quest to secure Bundesliga safety. Even then there will be the two-legged playoff that will require the team to be at their best to see off the 2. Bundesliga’s 3rd best team. Call me a pessimist but it just doesn’t look like Bremen will make it happen.
They have been so fragile and inconsistent this season that the very fact they have a chance of avoiding relegation is by itself a miracle. How did Bremen get here? Whatever happened to the exciting team that finished 8th just last season? And what does losing one of the traditional and most widely supported teams mean for the Bundesliga?
It all started with the loss of a key player. Max Kruse was the man who made Bremen tick- The goal-getter, the difference-maker. And it comes as no surprise that the team struggled for goals with his absence and having failed to replace him well. Milot Rashica has been Bremen’s best player and consistent performer upfront but that amounts to very little when players around him can’t raise the bar.
Davy Klassen wasn’t able to replicate his good form of the previous season and the same can be said about Yuya Osako, Josh Sargent, and Maximilian Eggestein, who has been the biggest disappointment. The acquisition of Niclas Füllkrug from Hannover was a good one, but the striker has been plagued by injury all season and wasn’t able to help his team. He has only managed to play a total of 7 games. The romantic return of Davie Selke from Hertha Berlin on loan has been an epic failure. Leo Bittencourt is the main man on his day and so frustrating on other days. The defense has also been one of the weak links of this team. Omer Toprak has been unlucky with injuries, while Kevin Vogt simply hasn’t been the same player we knew from before.
For the many criticisms, this team has received over the season, very few have questioned the prowess of trainer Florian Kohfeldt. For one thing, the 37-year-old has shown what he is capable of during a previous couple of seasons and it has been evident that the lack of quality and individual mistakes have been at the forefront of the bad season from the Green-whites. In fact, Kohfeldt is being linked with managerial jobs in clubs like Hoffenheim. The club stuck by him during the difficult moments and if there’s anyone capable of achieving something of a miraculous escape it’s him.
But the pending relegation of Werder Bremen is not good news for the Bundesliga. It will mean that a club that has been a big part of the first division since 1981 will be in the 2nd league. This team has a big fan base in Germany and has also attracted many fans from across the globe. Bremen are 4 time Bundesliga champions and have finished in 2nd place on seven occasions. The club has won the DFB Pokal six times, the latest being in 2009 when they also managed to reach the Europa League final.
I have been seeing some people mention the fact that Hamburg vs Bremen in the playoffs would be exciting, while others stressed the fact that the two clubs having a rivalry for a full season in 2. Bundesliga would be be more fun.
In a way it is sad such a big club should find itself in this situation and it will be a big warning sign for many Bundesliga clubs, I’m looking at you Schalke. Werder Bremen will be missed if they do end up going down this weekend, at least I know I will miss seeing them in Germany’s top flight. We will have the big answer on Saturday afternoon. This will be a dramatic end to what has been yet another thrilling Bundesliga season, (yeah I know I wasn’t talking about the title).
Brook lives in Ethiopia and started following the Bundesliga from a very young age. His favorite players then were Thomas Rosicky – the reason he became a Dortmund fan! – and Marcelinho of Hertha Berlin. He likes to watch, read, write, and talk about football with a special interest in discussing emerging young talents. Follow @brookge