Werder Bremen: A bit too much spectacle – sport


With a thoughtful expression, Ole Werner went back to his workplace. Shortly before, he had left his coaching zone scolding and gesticulating, now the SV Werder coach watched his players as they kicked off again in the center circle.

It takes a lot to irritate the reserved Werner, 34, but in the 48th minute his team finally made it. From the trainer’s point of view, once, twice, maybe even three times might still look reasonably okay if the opponent also regularly looks around the center circle with the ball in his hand. But four impulses for your own team? It’s just such a large accumulation that unpleasant side effects on the scoreboard can hardly be concealed: 3: 4 showed this on Sunday evening after a turbulent game against Eintracht Frankfurt.

The result was tantamount to SV Werder’s first loss of the season, but apart from this small premiere, the recorded video material contains no arguments to go to the nearest patent office. You’ve already seen it in one way or another in the past few weeks: where Werder is on the label, there’s a lot of spectacle in it. The only question is: How much spectacle can a climber afford in the long run?

The Frankfurt game is part of a chain of events whose individual components can hardly be distinguished from one another at first glance. “As a whole team, we are very strong in attack, very unpredictable and have a lot of different goalscorers,” praised Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug, for example, who was spot on with this observation: In the game against Eintracht, three different Werder players scored again, alongside Füllkrug himself (90th minute/penalty), left-back Anthony Jung (14th) and playmaker Leonardo Bittencourt (17th), who was later injured and substituted, entered their names in the list of shots. With a total of ten goals scored this season, Bremen are third in the league in the special category “goals scored”. But that’s only one sparkling side of the coin. The other looks like this: Werder has also conceded ten goals so far – and thus the fourth highest value in the field of participants.

The first pressing line attacked cautiously, the line behind it lacked structure and reliability

On the one hand, this produces the remarkable statistics that more goals are scored in games involving SV Werder than in games with FC Bayern, because even the Munich offensive machine, which is feared worldwide, cannot score all the goals that Werder catches at the back . On the other hand, it must be mentioned that the people of Bremen are not doing all this on purpose. They know very well that one of the historically proven basic wisdoms of football also applies to them. Because as long as the DFL does not award any extra points for goals scored or insane game runs, the desired relegation cannot be secured through the attack alone. Or, as Werder striker Füllkrug put it after the recent seven-goal spectacle against Frankfurt: “It’s difficult to win a game when you score so many goals. Our defensive performance has to improve accordingly.”

From Werder’s point of view there was plenty of room for improvement on Sunday, because the home team only implemented rudimentarily what is written in the manuals for efficient defending. The first pressing line attacked cautiously, the line behind it lacked structure and reliability. In view of the fact that the Frankfurters have a couple of lightning-fast attackers, these ingredients created an awkward overall picture: huge spaces opened up at the back. And up front there were only a few of those early ball wins that are actually part of Bremen’s strategy.

And because midfielder Christian Gross and defense chief Marco Friedl also had pitch-black days, Werder lacked the central authorities to clean up the mistakes that the people in front had accumulated. So it turned out that midfielder Mario Götze scored his first goal in the Eintracht jersey from the backcourt (2nd). And so it was not possible to prevent the Frankfurt attackers Randal Kolo Muani (32′), Jesper Lindsdröm (39′) and Djibril Sow (42′) from running towards the Werder goal at top speed and taking the lead from the gap in the meantime made, which should last until the end.

“Today there was a lack of balance,” Werner complained, “and then a game like today’s comes out.” Afterwards, however, the Werder coach emphasized that the game against Frankfurt was the exception rather than the rule. Because even when catching up against Stuttgart (2:2) and Dortmund (3:2 win), according to Werner, his team offered a dramatic entertainment program. But ultimately there were also “significant differences”: Against Frankfurt, Bremen scored a lot of goals from a large number of allowed scoring chances, in the other games it was more a lot of goals conceded with comparatively few allowed scoring chances.

Nevertheless, even in this Bundesliga Sunday, which at first glance seemed rather insignificant, the big pattern could be seen that will decide the course of the season for SV Werder in the near future and will also keep the traditional club busy in the more distant future. It’s about a question that was already discussed in Bremen when the goal was “to annoy Bayern” and not “stay in the league”: Is football now about scoring one more goal than the opponent? Or to collect one less? In any case, coach Werner has already developed a clear tendency: The fewer kicks his players make in the future, the better for SV Werder.



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