February 22, 2017

Wherefore Art Thou Werder Win?

Much as Juliet was beseeching her lover Romeo in William Shakespeare’s play, fans of Werder Bremen can be excused for an equally dramatic cry as they still seek and crave their first win of 2017. Juliet was desperate for her star-crossed lover to renounce his allegiance to his Montague family, whereas the Grün-Weißen faithful are just desperate for three Bundesliga points after a shocking start to the Rückrunde.

Or maybe the bard’s Richard III is more apt- “A win, a win, my kingdom for a win”. Defensively it’s been ‘A Comedy of Errors’……okay, okay enough with the Shakespeare references, but it is turning from a drama into a tragedy for Werder at the moment following yet another weekend where they emerge empty-handed and rooted in the bottom three.

So where is the much sought-after three points going to come from and what exactly is the matter with Alexander Nouri’s stuttering team?

Annus Horribilis

Well it is fair to say that there hasn’t been much in the way of cheer in the opening weeks of the new year for Werder and their long-suffering fans. The first game back after the winter break started badly with an early goal conceded at home to Borussia Dortmund and then a red card for keeper Jaroslav Drobny.

That loss was followed by defeat at home to Bayern, which would have come as a surprise to absolutely no-one. On the road to Augsburg an injury time kick in the teeth arrived with a 3-2 loss before the weekend’s disappointment to Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Werder seem to be in free fall and it was only two late goals from Bayern at Ingolstadt on Saturday that prevented them sinking to 17th place in the table (isn’t that were HSV usually reside?).

Defensively some of the back line have literally been living up to the shirt sponsors (Wiesenhof) and been running around like headless chickens. Only once this season has a clean sheet been kept and the North Germans have conceded a league high 42 goals in their 20 matches.

If you are looking for highlights from the opening stages of the Rückrunde, then Bremen isn’t the place to be mein Freund.

Reasons to be cheerful

Four games, no points, 16th place, relegation rivals picking up points, HSV winning – there doesn’t seem to be much cause for optimism does there? Well maybe it’s not all doom and gloom at the Weser Stadion. C’mon, look on the bright side, the only way is up, the glass is half-full…do I sound convincing?

For one Danish midfielder Thomas Delaney has shown that he has the fight and potentially the quality to help Werder out of their current mess. The winter signing from FC Copenhagen has only made four appearances, but has shown enough to make you think that he won’t be regretting his move to Germany and plying his trade in the second division next season.

Looking for other positives, the loss to Gladbach was only the second game of the season Werder have failed to score. The club have the players in forward positions to get the goals needed to secure the much-needed wins with Claudio Pizarro, Serge Gnabry, Max Kruse, Aron Johannsson all having goals in them. It’s up to the back line to tighten things up and surely the points will follow. Surely?

Date with Darmstadt

Beware the Ides of March! Oh we’re back onto Shakespeare- I couldn’t resist. Julius Caesar was killed in March by so-called friends. Fast forward to Matchday 23 and Werder face Darmstadt in what could be a real relegation six-pointer.

Tricky away games at Mainz and Wolfsburg are up next, so the visit of the current bottom side could be the best opportunity for that elusive first win of 2017

What are the odds though on Bremen legend and current Lilien trainer Torsten Frings returning to the Weser Stadion to take on the role of Brutus? Will Frings be the silent assassin plunging the dagger in to cause Werder even more woe?

Or will the Grün-Weißen have notched up a few much-needed wins before then and be on the road to recovery? Hopefully the latter and by the time May comes around Werder will occupy a position above 16th and it will be a case of ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ rather than ‘The Tempest’.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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