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Bundesliga Review – Week 21

Werder Bremen is one of the biggest clubs in German football. They are very well-known both in and outside of Germany and Europe, boasting a great fan base with lots of devoted members that truly show us all what being a fan is all about. They support through thick and thin, singing and cheering, no matter what transpires on the pitch. But shouldn’t they get bored soon? Bremen is after all a one-trick pony. It’s the same thing year after year, and it’s always as thrilling to watch.

Bremen’s form curve is a circle. When the season starts they’re often in fine form, often hoping for  a good season and equipped with renewed faith in their caretaker manager and some new players. They’re always ready to take on the whole world it seems. People start predicting, saying that ’this is Bremen’s year’, this is the year when they finally show that they deserve to be a part of the German Euro-fighters. But it’s all innuendo, it’s all false and in some way it’s also a case of crocodile tears. Because Bremen know and we know as well, albeit deep down, that this is not Bremen’s year. This is just one part of the eternal Weserloop that just never ceases to amaze us all.

Because no matter how fine they looked beforehand, no matter how promising their squad was or how good their newly furnished defence look, it will all crumble and fall, when we all expect it to do. They will play horrible football, we know that. They will concede a high volume of goals and they will lose the majority of their games. We know that, deep down. And then, when they’ve hit what might seem like rock bottom, they sack their coach and it all starts over again. The coach manages to string together some promising results, gets the players and the fans on his side and in just two months time, people are hailing him, calling him a wunderkind or a genius – the man that has brought Bremen back from the dead. Then, Bremen win, win and win and when the season has finished, they will state that had they not had a horrible autumn, then they would have reached Europe for sure. We all agree, because that’s very much correct.

And then what? Hope! Signings! A flourishing city with hope and prosperity on the shores of the Weser river that knows that this year will be Bremen’s year, this season will be our season, this year we’ll show them all that Bremen belongs in European football. But, then the whole loop continues and before you know it, they’re back in the gutter, begging for some water to wash their hopeless, muddy faces with. This is Werder Bremen and this season is the very same.

How did 2017 begin? Well, Werder Bremen started off very well and managed to string together some very promising results under new coach Alexander Nouri. In the end, they were only a few goals away from possibly reaching Europe. When this season started, Bremen were full of hope. Nouri was seen as a wonderkid, the next Julian Nagelsmann, or the other way around perhaps and his squad was seen by many as quite strong and possibly even good enough to reach Europe with. Nouri had signed Ludwig Augustinsson and Jérôme Gondorf and the January signing of Thomas Delaney had proven to be fantastic. When this season started, it started with a hopeful Bremen, a team in good form, with a Bremen that was ready to fight for the European spots for real. How foolish of us to even consider that viable. It’s like the old pastime saying: It’s the same donkey, but with a new saddle.

So where are they now? Where in this never-ending loop are they as of now? They’re on their way up again. Their electric win away against Schalke shows us that the momentum is beginning to build.  Soon, people will be calling the appointment of Florian Kohfeldt a stroke of genius from the Bremen board. Soon, we’ll be discussing the possibilities of Bremen reaching Europe. Soon, it will all come crashing down again.

 

1 | Ademola Lookman sealed his deadline day move to RB Leipzig with a goal on his debut. The 20-year-old scored the winner against Borussia Mönchengladbach, becoming the first Englishman to score in the Bundesliga since Owen Hargreaves did for Bayern Munich almost 13 years ago. With just one win in seven league games prior to Saturday’s victory, it’s three points RB so desperately needed that has put them in a Champions League spot once again. Ralph Hasenhüttl has now amassed an impressive 102 points in the Bundesliga in just 19 months.

2 | An remarkable 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday has put Augsburg back in contention for a European place. Just four points separate second and eighth, with Manuel Baum’s side just two points behind Eintracht, who occupy the final Europa League place. Even without the impressive Alfreð Finnbogason, Augsburg made relative ease of their opponents with a ‘Man of the Match’ performance from Michael Gregoritsch. A bargain at just over €5 million, the 23-year-old has nine Bundesliga goals and four assists which has put him as one of the league’s best performers this season.

3 | Football at the RheinEnergieStadion under the lights is something everyone must witness, should the opportunity arise. Friday was no different as bottom club 1. FC Köln entertained Borussia Dortmund. A great advert for the Bundesliga, Peter Stöger managed to get one over his previous employers, with BVB winning 3-2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was soon forgotten given that Michy Batshuayi opened his Borussia Dortmund account after 35 minutes. Pegged back by Simon Zoller, the Belgian had Dortmund back in the lead again only for FC Köln to equalise once more. André Schürrle won it for Stöger late on leaving the Billy Goats pointless but on another day, it could’ve yielded a different result.

FC Köln 2-3 Borussia Dortmund; Mainz 05 0-2 Bayern Munich; Wolfsburg 1-1 Stuttgart; Hertha BSC 1-1 Hoffenheim; Freiburg 0-0 Bayer Leverkusem; Schalke 1-2 Werder Bremen; Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-1 RB Leipzig; Augsburg 3-0 Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburger SV 1-1 Hannover 96.

Axel Falk with Daniel Pinder.

 

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