Werder Bremen: season overview 2021/22

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The last time Werder Bremen were relegated to Bundesliga 2, a certain Otto Rehhagel resuscitated them through the most glorious era in the history of the northern club. It’s not just football romantics who will want a repeat from 2021/22.

Last season

Bremen’s 40th consecutive Bundesliga season is not one they will fondly remember, ending as it did with their second relegation to Bundesliga 2. However, there weren’t many early signs of their final disappearance. The Greens-Whites went through the preseason with eight out of eight wins before defeating Carl Zeiss Jena in the DFB Cup first round – a competition they would stay in until the semifinals.

A 4-1 loss to Hertha Berlin on Matchday 1 of the Bundesliga season was admittedly a setback, but it did not sidetrack Florian Kohfeldt’s men. They then set up a seven-game unbeaten streak, which culminated in a 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich that ended a 19-game losing streak against the record champions. Oddly enough, he also set another league record in the process: it was Bremen’s fifth straight 1-1 draw.

“This is probably the most boring record the Bundesliga has to offer,” Kohfeldt grumbled after his side failed to take full points for the fifth game in a row.

Looking back, Kohfeldt would have had nothing against extending that streak to nine consecutive draws after seeing losses to Wolfsburg, VfB Stuttgart, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund spiraling them to the edge of the zone. of relegation.

Watch: Bremen was relegated on the last day

The DFB Cup continued to be a source of encouragement, with victories over Hanover and Greuther Fürth earning them a move to the quarter-finals against Bundesliga 2‘s Jahn Regensburg. An indifferent form in the league, however, began to suggest that the trip to northern Bavaria may well be a league game scheduled for 2021/22.

Wins against Eintracht Frankfurt and Arminia Bielefeld took Bremen to 11th place before meeting Bayern again, when they triggered a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 loss at home.

Kohfeldt nevertheless had the opportunity to raise the bar, and a goalless draw with Bayer Leverkusen stopped the rot. He then led the quadruple Bundesliga champions to Augsburg on the penultimate weekend, knowing a win would see them at home and dry. But a 2-0 loss completely mixed the field into the relegation battle, weakening Bremen for their final day clash with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

In an attempt to increase their chances, former boss Thomas Schaaf has been installed as interim coach. But he couldn’t replicate the magic of the majority of his last 14 years in the hotseat, and Bremen – along with five-goal USA forward Josh Sargent – were sentenced to just the second relegation in their history.

Former Cologne and Darmstadt boss Markus Anfang is making a fresh start as Bremen head coach for the 2021/22 campaign. – nph / Rojahn via www.imago-images.de/imago images / Nordphoto

New Arrivals

Relegation inevitably results in the loss of key players, and replacing Milot Rashica (Norwich City), Theodor Gebre Selassie (Slovan Liberec) and Niklas Moisander (Malmo) is the challenge facing new head coach Markus Anfang. As he begins to chart Bremen’s path towards the big time, it may not be a coincidence that Anfang’s name translates to “beginning” in English.

Anfang, however, has issued a warning regarding the coming season. “We have to be realistic and first we have to build a team that makes us competitive enough to be able to nominate [promotion] as a goal, ”said the 47-year-old.

The squad will include South Korean full-back Kyu-hyun Park, an arrival from Ulsan Hyundai, and Union Berlin midfielder Nicolai Rapp. Former Bayern defender Lukas Mai will step up the defense, with former Leipzig stopper Anthony Jung returning to German football after a stint with Brondby.

Lukas Mai arrived on loan from Bayern Munich to bolster Werder’s defense. – nordphoto GmbH / Stoever via www.imago-images.de/imago images / Nordphoto

What to expect

While Anfang keeps expectations low – and northern German rivals Hamburg are a prime example of how difficult it is to come back to the Bundesliga after relegation – Bremen should still be among the clubs asking for promotion. The new coach has also already led Holstein Kiel from third division to Bundesliga 2 before going on to third place and a loss in the promotion play-offs at Wolfsburg. A year later, he guided Cologne relegated most of the way to the Bundesliga, losing his job despite the Billy Goats leading the way at six points with three games of the season remaining.

It was this kind of experience that drew Bremen to a man they hope can bring back to life in the Otto Rehhagel years. Anfang’s task is to get the club back on the national and international map with minimum delay – starting with an immediate return to the Bundesliga.

Watch: Learn more about Josh Sargent

Opening arrangements

Bremen vs Hanover (Saturday July 24)
Fortuna Düsseldorf v Bremen (Saturday July 31)
DFB Cup: Osnabrück v Bremen (Saturday 7 August)
Bremen vs Paderborn (Sunday 15 August)
Karlsruhe v Bremen (Saturday 21 August)
Bremen v Hansa Rostock (Sunday 29 August)
Ingolstadt v Bremen (Saturday 11 September)
Bremen v Hamburg (Saturday 18 September)
Dynamo Dresden v Bremen (Sunday September 26)


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