What’s not to love about Werder Bremen?
Werder Bremen’s Weserstadion is not the most comfortable place to watch football, with its slightly rickety feel, but it must be one of the most exciting.
Saturday’s 5-4 victory over Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga made it 10 goals in the last two league games for Thomas Schaaf’s side, who have now shrugged off a bit of early-season lethargy to restate the case for being the most entertaining side in Germany, certainly, and quite possibly Europe as a whole.
What’s not to love about Werder Bremen? For a team with relatively modest resources (compared to Bayern Munich or the European bigwigs) they show a refreshing commitment to attacking football.
I’ve blogged before about Brazilian Diego, and he remains a class act, but the standout player of the last couple of games has been Mesut Ozil, the young Germany midfielder who proved too much of a handful for both Bayern Munich, when Werder beat them 5-2, and Hoffenheim.
That devil-may-care attitude towards attack often makes it a bit hairy for the defenders, of course, but that only adds to the fun. Naldo and Per Mertesacker must be the hardest working centre backs in the Bundesliga.
Even when Bremen fail they seem to do so gloriously, notably with a 10-2 aggregate defeat by Lyon in the second round in 2005 and the inexplicable mistake from Tim Wiese that denied them victory at the death against Juventus the following season.
On Wednesday they take on Inter Milan in the Champions League and will thus be reacquainted with Jose Mourinho, who is a bit of a fan.
When Mourinho took his Chelsea team to Bremen a couple of years ago he spoke before the game about the respect he had for Schaaf and his commitment to using the same diamond formation in midfield that he himself favoured, despite the risks involved. Bremen duly beat Chelsea 1-0, although it was the English side that went through.
Bremen failed to find the net in their first Champions League outing, a goalless draw at home to Anorthosis Famagusta, so they need something from Wednesday’s trip. There’ll be a lot of neutrals willing them on, I expect.
PHOTO: Mesut Ozil scores the winner against Hoffenheim, Sept 27, 2008. REUTERS/Christian Charisius