Last season saw Werder Bremen finish a disappointing 11th place. This season has been a different story. Florian Kohfeldt’s team started the season well, finding themselves in the Champions League places.
However, a dip in form saw the team drop to a familiar place. Now sitting 11th once again, Bremen’s season was about to improve significantly. Climbing the table, Bremen is now 8th, after a spectacular run of form. Unbeaten in 2019, Bremen now find themselves in an unlikely race for Europe.
Werder Bremen: Unbeaten in 2019
One of the keys behind Bremen’s unbeaten run has been club captain Max Kruse. Leading the team in goals and assists, Kruse is crucial to the team’s success. Usually deployed as a false nine in a 4-3-3 system, the German forward is having one of his best seasons.
Helping Bremen contend for European football, the 31-year-old is a free agent this summer. Possibly leaving the club, Kruse will hope to walk away on a high. Now 8th in the table, Werder Bremen find themselves in a four-way race for Europa League football next season.
Thriving alongside Kosovan winger Milot Rashica, Kruse not only scores goals, but he also makes those around him better. Contributing 13 assists this season, he gets others involved, making Bremen dangerous going forward. Clinical in front of goal, he has 11 goals in all competitions. A creative player, Kruse is known for playing the crucial pass.
A two-way threat, the former German international can hurt you both ways. Werder Bremen are better with Kruse on the pitch, his influence on those around him is invaluable. The former Wolfsburg forward has a good chance to secure European football, in what could be his final season with Bremen.
Balance is Key
Scoring in every competitive game this season, Bremen has become a tough opponent under Kohfeldt. Setting up in a 4-3-3, Bremen can also switch to a diamond 4-4-2 when necessary. The keys behind Kohfeldt’s success are hard work and balance. A reliable keeper, Jiří Pavlenka has established himself as an ever-present in the team.
Solid and balanced in defence, Bremen have been consistent at the back this season. Conceding 40 goals in the league, Kohfeldt continues to rely on the usual suspects. Continuity has played a big role in the clubs unbeaten run.
Usually deploying three or four men in midfield, Bremen work hard in the middle of the park. The likes of Nuri Şahin, Davy Klaassen and Maximilian Eggestein all play a key role, covering ground like few others. Kohfeldt has faith in this unit, knowing their work rate will make up for their obvious lack of star power.
In attack, the team relies on both youth and experience. Rashica and Kruse have thrived this season, linking up as one of the best duos in the league. Club legend Claudio Pizarro continues to play a pivotal role off the bench. A leading example, the 40-year-old was described as “invaluable” by his manager.
Building for the Future
As an unbeaten Werder Bremen push for a Europa League place, the club continues to build for the future. Investing well and finding a balance between young and old, the club is slowly becoming competitive again. Slumping in recent years, Kohfeldt has the team heading in the right direction on the pitch. Giving youth a chance, the 36-year-old manager has made some bold decisions this season.
The likes of Marco Friedl, Johannes Eggestein and Josh Sargent have all been given an opportunity by Kohfeldt and the club has benefited. A squad with an average age of 26, Bremen are building a team which will compete this year and for many years to come. A manager who can lead and motivate, Kohfeldt is now one of the best young managers in Germany, creating a winners mentality within the club, something Werder Bremen has lacked in recent seasons.
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