Werder Bremen believing their own hype | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.09.2018
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Werder Bremen believing their own hype

Werder Bremen have started the season like the contenders they said they would be. A 3-1 win and another strong performance against Hertha Berlin suggests the first signs of something special happening along the Weser.

At the beginning of the season, Werder Bremen's Sporting Director Frank Baumann said the club's goal this season was to qualify for Europe. In a league short of competition and declarations of serious intent, this was a refreshingly bold statement to make. Although it's early in the season, it seems to be paying dividends.

Along with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund (ahead of their game against Nuremberg on Wednesday), Werder Bremen are the only undefeated side in the Bundesliga. While the rest of the league struggles to meet expectations, Werder have been performing like a side that fully believes they will qualify for Europe.

Their tempo and tenacity was high right from the start against Hertha Berlin on Tuesday and, although they scored in fortunate circumstances, the lead was fully deserved. They stayed solid and, even when they conceded, always looked capable of scoring again, which they did. Head coach Florian Kohfeldt has developed a system that has all the parts working correctly and while Werder have had their fingers burnt before with exciting young head coaches, there's a difference this time.

Bundesliga - SV Werder Bremen v Hertha BSC (Getty Images/AFP/A. Stollarz)

All smiles in Bremen, and with good reason too

Buying smart

That difference can largely be found in the recruitment of Baumann and the cultural change both he and Kohfeldt have enforced. That combination off-the-pitch and a better crop of players have enabled them to take the kind of developmental strides the club has craved for years.  

With Nuri Sahin or Philipp Bargfrede holding in midfield, cover is provide for the side's potential weak point: the defense. This cover allows Maximilian Eggestein and Davy Klaassen more room to roam, which is why the former keeps having (and taking) chances to score and the latter keeps pulling the strings. With almost all of their strikers capable of dropping deep to involve themselves in play more often, Werder have an attack that is a strength worth playing to - and they have done just that so far this season.

This game plan is matched with belief. Leading 3-1 with three minutes to play, Klaassen worked extra hard to win the ball back in the corner and try and keep an attack alive. It demonstrated the kind of commitment and determination the Bundesliga has grown accustomed to seeing when watching Bayern Munich. They won't be champions but they are striving for Europe. 

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