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Werder Bremen: Can the Longest Standing Bundesliga Club Survive Relegation?

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Bremen's 56-year history

Werder Bremen are the longest standing Bundesliga club in history, and have only ever spent one season out of the German top flight during the 1980/1981 season. Since then Bremen have spent 39 consecutive seasons in the top flight, winning three titles in that period with the most recent one being in the 2003/04 season.

Now, Die Grün-Weißen sit second from bottom in the league and face relegation for just the second time in their clubs Bundesliga history. Florian Kohfeldt has seemingly struggled to motivate his side which has led to his sides fall from grace, currently placed nine places below their eighth place position last season.

Bremen will need something of a miracle to escape the drop to the Bundesliga 2 and will need to muster up something special if they are to extend their record to 40 consecutive seasons in the German top tier.

Here, we take a look at how likely they are to survive with just nine games remaining.

Why has it been so bad?

Kohfeldt’s side finished just a point away from European football and it is difficult to understand how they have fallen so far in just a season.

Die Grün-Weißen have had a disastrous run of form over the season, winning just five of their 27 games so far and losing 15. They have only managed to gain eight points from a possible 30 in their last 10 games and will have to find a way to escape this poor form if they are to survive.

Bremen have been heavily criticised for their home form this season, also, winning just one game at the Weser Stadium all season. In fact, just five points from a possible 36 points have been won at home for Kohfedlt’s men, with fans only witnessing nine goals from their side at home all season. Failing to score has been a big issue in all games this season, with the Green and Whites only scoring 28 goals in the league this season, with just Düsseldorf scoring less.

Despite the severe lack of goals scored, Bremen’s biggest problems worryingly lie in other areas of their side. The North West German side have conceded the second-most goals this season, allowing for 59 goals to be scored against them and having the worst goal difference by a staggering seven goals, with -30.

The longest-standing Bundesliga side have been given the Sky Bet odds of 2/5 to be relegated by the end of the season, and odds of 7/4 to stay up. Bremen now sit five points from safety and five two points from a relegation playoff match.

The remaining fixtures

With just nine games remaining, Bremen will need to conjure up the courage and magic they will need to survive the drop, this year. Although, it is not looking promising for the River Islanders when looking at their remaining fixtures for the season.

Five of Bremen’s next nine matches are against sides in the top half of the Bundesliga table, after their 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. Kohfeldt’s side managed to score in only four of the reverse fixtures against the sides they still have to play, and will need to find a way of doing much better in the upcoming games.

Fans of Die Grün-Weißen will be concerned when looking at how many goals their side conceded earlier in the season, against the sides they still have to play. A shocking 24 goals in total were scored past Bremen from the previous fixtures against the nine upcoming teams, with six of them being let in away at the Allianz Arena and five at home 15th place Mainz.

With the reverse fixtures of the upcoming games containing 24 goals against the relegation battlers in total, with just eight goals in reply, Bremen’s chances of survival look even more destitute and worrying as they head into the final stage of the season.

The key players

What makes Bremen’s disappointing season even more astonishing is the quality of players among their ranks. Their side includes an array of top players, some of which have won Bundesliga titles and European trophies in their careers, yet now face relegation.

Despite conceding the most goals in the league this season, goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka has been one of the Bremen top performers this season, often being labelled as his side’s saviour from even greater turmoil.

The Czech Republic international played every game in goal for his sides eighth place finish last season, and is widely considered in the Bundesliga as a top goalkeeper. This season his performances have been admirable, and without him many would argue that the Green and Whites would be in an even worse position than they are now.

At the other end of the pitch, Milot Rashica is Bremen’s biggest threat going forward. The Kosovo international forward has scored seven goals for his side this season so far, and his teammates and manager will be looking to him to provide performances and goals that will give them a chance of survival.

At the moment, the 23-year-old has attracted interest from a wide variety of European clubs, and with his release-clause set to drop to around only £15 million if they are relegated, Bremen will hope that they will be able to survive in order to keep him, and a number of other quality players that will undoubtedly seek a move elsewhere if the club are relegated.

By Brad Beecham