Bundesliga: Yuya Osako and Josh Sargent fire Werder Bremen to timely win | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 01.09.2019
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Bundesliga: Yuya Osako and Josh Sargent fire Werder Bremen to timely win

Werder Bremen had their Japanese and American stars to thank for their first win of the season. With tough fixtures to come, the result came at just the right time for the ambitious northerners.

"In the next few years, we want to create the sporting and financial conditions to be able to knock on the door of international football," Werder Bremen sporting director Frank Baumann told the Augsburger Allgemeine this week.

Werder have made no secret of their desire to establish themselves at the top table of German football. Head coach Florian Kohfeldt kicked off last season by boldly stating that his team was aiming for Europe, a target they missed by a single point after winning only two of their final five games.

This season also began with back-to-back defeats and, with the score still 2-2 with 30 minutes to play against ten-man Augsburg on Sunday, Werder were in danger of a false start to the new season.

Step forward Yuya Osako. The pressure had been building on the Augsburg goal throughout the second half - the Japanese international had cut in from the left and fired just wide.

But he made absolutely no mistake when he connected perfectly with Marco Friedl's cross, firing a vicious right-footed volley into the roof of the net to put Werder ahead for the third and final time in the match.

It was the 29-year-old's second of the afternoon, having already given Werder an early lead when he punished Augsburg for their dangerously high line by latching onto Niclas Füllkrug's through ball and finishing smartly.

Yuya Osako is hoping to make this season his best yet

Yuya Osako is hoping to make this season his best yet

Best yet to come?

With three goals already this season, Osako has equalled his Bundesliga tally from last season and is well placed to match his best ever Bundesliga haul – seven goals and eight assists for Cologne in 2016/17.

Not that Kohfeldt was surprised. "I told him this morning when we were taking a walk: score two," the head coach revealed. "And he delivered."

The Bremen boss, who was crowned German Coach of the Year in 2018, will have been surprised by the performance of another of Bremen's international stars though.

American teenager Josh Sargent began to establish himself midway through last season, even contributing a couple of goals. Neither, however, were as accomplished as his finish which put Werder 2-1 up against Augsburg on Sunday.

After exquisitely controlling a long ball over his shoulder from Nuri Sahin, the 19-year-old calmly lobbed the ball over the onrushing Tomas Koubek and slotted it home. "That was outstanding," praised Kohfeldt afterwards.

Sargent took his chance in place of the suspended Johannes Eggestein, proof that Werder have options in attack. The introduction of Claudio Pizzaro and Martin Harnik late on underline that even further.

Fußball Bundesliga Werder Bremen Bayer Leverkusen (Getty Images/Bongarts/L. Baron)

Florian Kohfeldt needs to work on Bremen's defense

Defensive concerns

For all the excitement about impressive individual performances and those all-important first three points, Kohfeldt will know that Werder will have to improve if they are to match the club's lofty ambitions and improve on last season's seventh-place finish - particularly at the back. 

A long injury list may explain part of the issue, but the fact that Augsburg - playing with ten men after Stephan Lichsteiner was sent off for a second bookable offense in the first half - still managed to equalize twice and fashion further chances towards the end must be a concern.

At just 1.74 meters, Ruben Vargas really should not have been allowed to head home in the box to make it 1-1, while Florian Niederlechner exploited a high line just after halftime to set up Vargas for his and Augsburg's second.

As the clock ticked down, the Weserstadion held its breath. Niederlechner let fly from the edge of the box, the ball flying back off the post. Bremen had played with fire, but held on to win. 

One look at the fixture list and this victory is a timely one for Bremen. With trips to Union Berlin, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt to come in the next four games, plus the visit of RB Leipzig, Bremen could be relying on Osako, Sargent and co. even more in the weeks to come.

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