Werder Bremen scouting report: Flexible tactics
Having only narrowly missed out on European qualification last season, SV Werder Bremen are gearing up for another tilt this time around.
Bremen started the 2019/20 Bundesliga season with two successive defeats, but followed that up with consecutive victories over Augsburg and Union Berlin on Matchdays 3 and 4. Striker Niclas Füllkrug became the club's ninth injury absentee when he damaged his cruciate ligaments in training ahead of their clash with title candidates Leipzig on Matchday 5, a fixture they ultimately lost 3-0. Werder's personnel situation improved slightly last week with the return of Milot Rashica, who helped them earn a point away to Borussia Dortmund.
Head coach Florian Kohfeldt is known for his tactical flexibility. He lined his team up in an attacking 4-4-3 formation in the 3-1 defeat to Düsseldorf at the start of the campaign, but has subsequently switched between a 4-3-2-1, a 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders and two nominal forwards, and a 4-2-3-1 with just one central striker. Bremen have an experienced backbone with Niklas Moisander and Ömer Toprak in central defence and Davy Klaassen in midfield, providing a solid foundation for talented youngsters such as Maxi Eggestein to learn from.
One to watch: Milot Rashica
In the seventh minute of Werder's clash in Dortmund, Klaassen found Rashica around 12 yards out and the man nicknamed "Rocket" lashed Bremen into the lead with a precise shot. The jet-heeled Kosovan was making his comeback after six weeks on the sidelines due to an adductor complaint, his only previous outing this season the Matchday 1 defeat against Düsseldorf. Rashica, who joined Bremen in January 2018 from Vitesse Arnhem, underlined his considerable potential last season, particularly in the second half of the campaign, and so far in 2019 he has been directly involved in 14 goals in 18 Bundesliga outings – more than any of his teammates, while he has opened the scoring five times.