With the Grün-Weißen languishing in 17th place and delivering an abject performance against FC Augsburg at the weekend, it came as little surprise on Monday morning when the statement arrived from Werder Bremen that they had parted ways with trainer Alexander Nouri.
Bremen are without a league win this season and have managed only four points. They have been kept scoreless on seven occasions and the only real glimmer of hope was their second round DFB Pokal win over Hoffenheim.
The writing has been on the wall for the 38-year-old who succeeded Viktor Skripnik in September 2016. The total capitulation to Augsburg at Weser Stadion was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Alex took on a very difficult task last season and did a fantastic job. He has our thanks for that” said Werder sporting director Frank Baumann. “He has all the qualities of a successful coach, and I’m sure that he will continue his path with success elsewhere.”
A record of 13 wins, 11 draws and 17 defeats in 41 Bundesliga games, including the impressive Rückrunde performance from last season, was not enough to avoid the chop.
So, who do Werder turn to now?
For the time being, first-team duties have been handed to U-23 coach Florian Kohfeldt, who will be supported by Thomas Horsch and U-17 assistant Tim Borowski. The triumvirate will prepare the side for Friday’s match day 11 clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Following that, Werder will have time during the coming international break to install a successor to Nouri.
For now, just who are the candidates to next fill the Weser Stadion hot-seat?
Since Robin Dutt left in 2014, Werder have gone for internal candidates to take on the trainer role. First, Viktor Skripnik was promoted from the youth ranks, and then Nouri was promoted from within to replace him. The fact that Kohfeldt has been given the interim post shows that he is trusted. He was assistant to Skripnik and is held in high-esteem at the club.
“Florian has a great reputation here and has shown himself to be a smart, diligent, and creative coach, who is well capable of leading a team. He has our complete confidence for this big challenge,” said Baumann.
“He will be one of the candidates that we will be considering to fill the role on a permanent basis over the coming days”.
One name that was being touted even before the decision was taken to fire Nouri was that of Bruno Labbadia. The ex-Werder player played 63 Bundesliga matches and scored 18 goals for the club and is currently out of work, The problem for Labbadia is the taint he will bring with him from the fact that he has previously coached Werder’s arch-enemies Hamburg.
He has been sacked twice by HSV, most recently when he had the Rothosen 17th with one point after five matches last season. He also had less-than-impressive records at Bayer Leverkusen or VfB Stuttgart.
Following Austria’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, Marcel Koller will be leaving his position as national team trainer and could be considered for the post at Werder. The fact that he knows both Zlatko Junuzovic and Florian Kainz could work in his favour.
Koller has previous Bundesliga experience with Köln and VfL Bochum.
Weinzierl’s success at Augsburg has been slightly overshadowed by his failure at Schalke, but Werder will no doubt have noted his availability and he should at least be on the shortlist to replace Nouri.
He led Augsburg to an 8th-place finish in 2014 and then took them into the Europa League following a 5th-place finish in 2015.
44-year-old Weiler led Belgian giants Anderlecht to a Championship last season, but was fired in September after a shaky start to the new campaign. His final match was the 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
He’s had experience in Germany after starting his coaching career in his native Switzerland. The 2015-16 season saw him narrowly miss out on taking 1. FC Nürnberg into the Bundesliga, losing in the relegation play-off to Eintracht Frankfurt.
The former Borussia Mönchengladbach trainer is on the job market and would welcome a return to the Bundesliga. Schubert was sacked by die Föhlen last December after a poor Hinrunde saw Gladbach win just four of their sixteen games. Having succeeded Lucien Favre, he led the club to a fifth-place finish in the 2015-16 season.
Would Werder consider club legend Thomas Schaaf as an outside bet?
It would be a bit like going back to an ex-partner, and that is always filled with problems. That said, he is a club legend with 14 seasons as Werder trainer behind him, with one Bundesliga title and three DFB Pokals on his CV.
Also, the whole “bring the old coach back for the nth time” is working out quite well in Bavaria with Heynckes.
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