With just days before the start of the new Bundesliga season, clubs are still making last-minute tweaks to their squads. Werder Bremen have surprised some with the signing of Ömer Toprak from Borussia Dortmund- a move which on the outset seems a little left-field, but on deeper analysis looks like the perfect arrangement for both parties.
Werder have signed the experienced 30-year-old on an initial loan with the presumption that he will sign permanently when certain conditions are met. It had initially been thought that Florian Kohfeldt was in the market for a full-back with Benjamin Henrichs strongly linked.
However, with the Monaco defender not a successful target, Werder switched attention to the former Freiburg, Leverkusen and BVB centre back. Not what they were looking for, but perhaps just what they need.
With Milos Veljkovic and Sebastian Langkamp both set to miss the start of the season through injury, Toprak will be an instant replacement to partner new club captain Niklas Moisander. However, looking at the stats, Toprak stands head and shoulders above the defenders already in the Werder ranks and looks to be coming in as first-choice rather than back-up.
Since November 2017, when Kohfeldt took the Werder job, Toprak has won’t 67.4% of his challenges and 65.7% of his aerial duals. He has achieved a top speed for 35 kph and averaged 14 sprints per 90 minutes.
“Ömer is a centre-back with pace, who has played at the highest level for several years” explained a delighted Florian Kohfeldt. “We are very glad that he has chosen Werder. He played very well in the recent Super Cup tie against Bayern and can be an asset to us.”
It is reported that Werder have paid an initial €1.4 million for Toprak, with the balance of his €5 million valuation to be paid once certain performance indicators have been met. Judging by his most recent game for Dortmund, that Werder have no worries about his ability to slip straight into their side.
Toprak had a highly impressive game against Bayern Munich in the Super Cup as he stood in for Mats Hummels. And therein lies the reason he has left BVB and why Werder is the ideal destination for him.
This season (like last season) was only going to see him as a back-up centre back with Hummels, Manuel Akanji the first-choice pairing with both Dan-Axel Zagadou and Julian Weigl providing additional cover.
“I am glad to be here. I had some good conversations with Frank Baumann and Florian Kohfeldt” Toprak revealed. “I was convinced by the development and philosophy at Werder and I would like to play my part in contributing to bringing them forward positively.”
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