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Opinion: Questionable attitude

DW Kommentarbild Sarah Wiertz
Sarah Wiertz
August 29, 2016

There is no disgrace in losing to Bayern per se, but the way Bremen capitulated is unacceptable. DW's Sarah Wiertz questions the attitude of many on the team and argues that they are missing a specific sort of player.

Fußball 1. Bundesliga FC Bayern München - SV Werder Bremen
Image: picture-alliance/ZB/T. Eisenhuth

In the past 10 matches between the two sides, Bayern Munich have outscored Werder Bremen 44-3. In other words, Bremen have scored just three goals, while Bayern have scored 44. So Friday's 6-0 score line is slightly above the average, but certainly not an exception.

Sure, Bayern have increased the quality of their personnel enormously over the past few years, but still, no self-respecting Bundesliga team can allow itself to be crushed like that - even by a side that is clearly so superior. Other financially weaker clubs have found ways to at least keep the score down, even if this hasn't resulted in exciting football.

'We have failed and played badly'

So how can you explain such a debacle? Werder captain Clemens Fritz was clearly annoyed by the question, which was put to him just one match into the new season, for which, as he admitted, he had no good answer.

Wiertz Sarah Kommentarbild App
Sarah Wiertz

"If you play without courage and are too frightened, you can't win any tackles. We fell apart in the second half. We failed and played badly," he said. "Each of us has to look at himself in the mirror."

His analysis is correct, but it is surprising at the same time. Isn't this the same team that avoided relegation by beating Frankfurt in the final game of last season? Doesn't something like that tend to build self-confidence? And unlike the cast of national team players at Bayern Munich, shouldn't they have returned from the summer break well rested and hungry for action? Not just that, but shouldn't any team be particularly motivated when facing Germany's best club, the Bundesliga title holders? If the prospect of knocking off a top team, doesn't motivate you, shouldn't you at least want to display your own team's potential?

Not a question of ability, but a question of will

But none of this was to be seen: no ambition, no passion, no surge. Former Bayern player-turned Sky Sports television pundit Didi Hamann was right when he noted that "the Bremen players have a responsibility to the fans and to the club." For years, most of the Bremen players have not been living up to this responsibility. The fact that the club was knocked out of the German Cup in the first round for the fourth time in six years by teams that play their league football one, two or even three divisions below the Bundesliga, is also evidence of this fact. This is not a question of ability, but one of attitude and character.

Perhaps it would be helpful to look back on what made Werder Bremen successful in better days in the past. The main factor was always a playmaker who developed into a first-class player at the northern-German club. A player who was allowed to make mistakes, who was given a great deal of freedom, but at the same time took responsibility out on the pitch: a Johan Micoud, a Diego, a Mesut Özil, or a Kevin De Bruyne.

Of course such players, even while still very young, are a lot more expensive than back in those days - and you have to find them in the first place. But all that money would have been much better invested in a young, up-and-coming playmaker than the 7.5 million euros ($8.4 million) spent on a striker by the name of Max Kruse, who the national team coach chose to leave off of his squad for Euro 2016 - due to his questionable attitude.

DW Kommentarbild Sarah Wiertz
Sarah Wiertz Head of Sports Online