The End of an Era – Allofs leaves Werder after 13 years

by Niklas Wildhagen

The writing had been on the wall for some time but now it is official: Klaus Allofs has left Werder Bremen to join VfL Wolfsburg to climb Mount Magath.

Werder’s former sporting director has signed a deal at Wolfsburg until the end of the 2015/16 season. Allofs’ new employer is going to pay him between 3 and 5 million Euros according to kicker, which will roughly double the income he had at Werder. During the sporting director’s time at the club the green and whites managed to win the German championship once, the DFB Pokal twice and reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2009.

When Allofs informed the Werder board of his desire to leave the club ”we felt obligated to negotiate with Wolfsburg” the head of Werder’s supervisory board Willi Lemke told the press at Wednesday’s press conference. Lemke went on to state that ”Allofs has done an excellent job throughout the last 13 years.”

Growing apart

It’s no secret that Allofs has taken issue with several decisions made by the Werder board, even though Allofs tried to stay positive throughout the entire press conference, stating that ”the last few months were challenging and a lot of fun”. Furthermore, the 55-year-old stated that he was ”in need of a new challenge, and the time for it has come now.” Wolfsburg’s new manager thinks that Werder won’t collapse after he has left the club.

I’m leaving a team which is very much in tact. The future is looking bright.

The former Bremen and Köln striker hesitated for some time before he extended his contract at the club last season. Werder wanted Allofs to sign a performance based contract, which according to Bild was a ”smack in the sporting director’s face”.

Lemke and Allofs were all smiles during today’s meeting with the media despite having fought out several power struggles behind closed doors last season. Both Bild and kicker wrote back then that Allofs was unhappy about insufficient funds for new signings.

Loosing the magic touch?

Signings like Özil, Micoud and Diego have given Allofs the reputation of a bargain hunter who could create brilliant teams with limited funds. The last couple of seasons have given rise to some critical voices in the Werder board room however. Many of Allofs’s transfers were costly and failed to perform on the pitch during that period. Brazilians Carlos Alberto and Wesley were brought in for a lot of money and have left the club since, leaving Werder with a massive financial loss. Other examples include 7 million Euros signing Marko Arnautovic and Mikael Silvestre.

Whilst Thomas Schaaf certainly has to take his part of the blame for Werder’s dire performances during the last couple of seasons, Allofs has to be handed some of the blame as well. Signings like Silvestre and Wesley were costly, but turned out to be players who were poor fits for Schaaf’s plans on the pitch to begin with.

Furthermore, Allofs chose to hang on to players like Claudio Pizarro and Tim Wiese, who had signed their deals during Werder’s five season long stint in the Champions League. Both players left the club on free transfers after their contracts had expired with the club getting zero return.

Werder’s massive wage bill and the failure to create any significant income by selling some of the team’s star players are mainly to blame for last season’s record loss of 13.9 million Euros. Some of the board members have placed the lion’s share of the blame squarely on Allofs’s shoulders according to Bild.

Challenges at Wolfsburg

The last couple of months may have been somewhat difficult for the former sporting director given the rising criticism of his work. Werder were, however, not interested in letting their sporting director leave according to the club.

Klaus Allofs’s re-vamping of the team during the summer transfer window has spurred a somewhat cautious enthusiasm for the green and whites, that was sorely lacking during the last couple of season. Young players like de Bruyne, Junuzovic and Petersen have shown that Allofs still knows where he has to look to find a good bargain in the transfer market.

The new manager of Wolfsburg is probably allowed to spend a bit more money than he had available at Bremen. He’ll have to face a number of tough challenges though. Wolfsburg are still looking for a new coach despite the fans wanting intermin coach Lorenz-Günter Köstner to stay. Much like Horst Heldt at Schalke Allofs has been handed the task of getting rid of some of the rejects from Felix Magath’s shopping sprees.

An in-house solution for Werder?

The head of Werder Bremen’s supervisory board, Willi Lemke, emphasized that Allofs leaving the club is presenting a challenge to the green and whites:

Klaus Allofs leaves massive foot prints here at Werder.

Finding Allofs’s replacement is going to take some time according to Lemke, who furthermore emphasized that Thomas Schaaf is going to have his say during the hiring process.

Dietmar Beiersdorfer, Rune Bratseth and Frank Baumann are amongst the board’s favorites to take over after Klaus Allofs according to kicker.

Whilst Baumann has learned his trade at the Weserstadion, working as Allofs’s assistant since 2009, the former Werder players Beiersdorfer and Bratseth gathered their experience elsewhere after retiring from football. Bratseth worked as the sporting director for Norwegian giants Rosenborg between 1995 and 2007 and Beiersdorfer managed the fortunes of Bremen’s arch rivals Hamburg between 2003 and 2009, before joining Red Bull Salzburg. The former Fürth, Hamburg and Bremen players is currently the sporting director of Zenit St. Petersburg.

Willi Lemke wasn’t willing to comment on any of these names during today’s press conference but suffice to say, interesting times area ahead.

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Author:Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 27-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.
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