Five games, eleven points, second place in the standings for the time being – Werder has made an excellent start to the season. The reasons: The good midfield, the strong squad and one of the best coaches in the Bundesliga.
1. Werder’s showpiece is midfield
When you think of Werder Bremen, you probably think of the offensive first. Last season, Max Kruse was mostly on his own after Fin Bartels‘ injury. Meanwhile he has Martin Harnik at his side. Kruse and Harnik both scored a goal in their 3-1 win over Hertha. The decisive factor for the home win was not the attackers, but the central midfield with Nuri Sahin, Davy Klaassen and Maximilian Eggestein. And that mainly thanks to the duel strength.
30 direct duels for the ball brought Sahin, Klaassen and Eggestein together, 23 of which they won – an outstanding quota. In addition, the threesome joined in the attack again and again and came to seven goal-shoot participations. Sahin was the most active man on the pitch until his substitution in the 61st minute, had the most ball actions, started with a free kick 1-0 and prepared with a corner the 2-0.
Nuri Sahin Honours
- KNVB Cup: 2007–08
- Bundesliga: 2010–11
- DFL-Supercup: 2013
- UEFA Champions League Runner-up: 2012–13
- La Liga: 2011–12
- UEFA European Under-17 Championship: 2005
- UEFA European Under-17 Championship Golden Player: 2005
- FIFA U-17 World Cup Bronze Ball: 2005
- FIFA U-17 World Cup Silver Shoe: 2005
- Bundesliga Player of the Season: 2010–11
- ESM Team of the Year: 2010–11
2. the Bremen success is planned
In recent years Werder has mostly played against relegation. Now they have established themselves at the top of the table after five matchdays. That doesn’t have to mean anything yet, but it’s no coincidence either. The Bremen team owes its success above all to coach Florian Kohfeldt and very good squad planning. Werder not only compensated for Thomas Delaney’s departure, but even improved after that. For the Delaney millions, four players came with Klaassen, Yuya Osako, Harnik and last-minute bargain Sahin, who showed against Hertha that they are helping the Bremen game.
In terms of breadth, Werder has the strongest squad in years. Against Hertha, Milot Rashica and Kevin Möhwald even rotated million-dollar transfers from the squad. And if things don’t go well in a game, Claudio Pizarro, who has been called back again, is a penalty area striker who can tie up balls at the front and decide games on his own. The Peruvian brings an additional element into the Bremen game, as coach Kohfeldt points out. He has also made Werder more unpredictable, more flexible and, above all, more stable.
3. Kohfeldt is one of the best coaches in the league
Kohfeldt proved how well he can handle this luxury against Hertha. The Bremen coach had Sahin, Klaassen, Eggestein and Osako play in a diamond at first. As a result, Werder often outnumbered them in midfield in the first half and controlled the game. Hertha coach Pál Dárdai recognised this and also changed the game in the first half – bringing his team into the game better.
When the game threatened to fall in the second half, Kohfeldt reacted, took the tired Sahin from the field and brought a more defensive player type with Bargfrede for protection – and exactly this needed his team. But not as a sixth: Bargfrede dropped low, turned the chain of four against the ball into a chain of five and gave the Bremen game the necessary stability. Dafabet does offers decently high bonuses to the new players.
The Berliners did not succeed in reacting to this change. After having become much stronger at the beginning of the second half, they barely came in front of the opponent’s goal after Bargfrede’s substitution. At the latest after Kruse’s converted penalty kick to 3:1 Hertha was broken. And Kohfeldt showed once again that he can not only adjust his team perfectly before the match, but also has great qualities in in-game coaching. This is exactly what distinguishes really good coaches and makes the 35-year-old one of the best in his profession. That’s why Werder is to be expected in the fight for Europe.