Are alarm bells ringing at the Weser Stadion?

Werder Bremen’s Bundesliga survival last season was based on an impressive Hinrunde with Ole Werner’s side the joint worst performing team in the Rückrunde. A clean slate was hoped for this season but after being dumped out of the DFB Pokal by Viktoria Köln, they’ve opened with two successive losses.

The fear is that the hangover from last season is continuing and unlike last time out, a bad start could see them lose their get out of jail free card.

Being paired with Bayern Munich on the opening night meant the Grün-Weißen were on a hiding to nothing really with the Rekordmeister fully expected to open the defence of their Bundesliga crown with a win. Despite an early goal from Leroy Sané, Werder kept Bayern at bay until Harry Kane’s goal in the second half led the way to a 4-0 loss.

Against Freiburg this past weekend there were signs of life and potential recovery, but they largely had goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka to thank for keeping them in the game for so long and taking them to the verge of a point. That Maximilian Philipp volleyed in an injury-time winner hurt, but wasn’t undeserved for the Breisgauer over the whole match. There was however a sense that Bremen could have taken a point, but didn’t.

“We are very disappointed” said coach Ole Werner. “First and foremost because the performance today has to be enough to take something with us in the away game. Freiburg had clearer chances, that was our shortcoming, that we didn’t get enough on goal from very good spaces and good situations.”

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Of course two games into a new season (with one of those against Bayern) is too early to be drawing any big conclusions, but taking last season’s Rückrunde and the Pokal defeat into account, there are worrying signs. Add in the increasing uncertainty over the future of start striker Niclas Füllkrug and the situation looks more of a worry.

Füllkrug’s departure in the current transfer window still looks likely to go through, meaning Werder will lose their focal point in attack and player who led the entire Bundesliga in goals last season with 16.

Even with him this season the raw stats don’t look good. Werder are the only side yet to score and have the league’s lowest xG of just 1.6. They have third lowest number of shots per 90 minutes with 10.5 and the lowest number of shots on target with just two. There is growing criticism that the team lacks the ambition/ creativity with too many safe passes being circulated aimlessly around the team, rather than trying to take a risk and damage the opposition.

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There are positions that need to strengthened (the wide attacking areas), but it might need the potential Füllkrug transfer money to fund that- solving one issue by creating another. The return of Naby Keita is getting closer, but Werder cannot afford to be in a critical situation by the time the Guinean midfielder does actually make his debut.

One result could change the current perception and Bremen face Mainz at the Weser Stadion on matchday 3. Werder’s report card at the end of last season would have said ‘must do better’. That is currently still the case.

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About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball