Werder Bremen – Match Report vs SC Freiburg 23/05/20

Werder Bremen won 1-0 away against a physical Freiburg side, scoring a well worked goal midway through the first half and defending resolutely throughout. Bremen lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with a holding midfielder while Freiburg adopted a 4-4-2 approach. The game really sparked into life late on, with Bremen going down to 10 men and Freiburg scoring what looked like a last-minute equaliser before a VAR review ruled it out for offside. Jirí Pavlenka made a number of important saves in the Bremen goal to earn them a well-deserved clean sheet and an important three points in the Bundesliga relegation battle.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Milot Rashica

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Kosovan
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 28/06/1996
  • Current Club: Werder Bremen
  • Career: Vushtrria, Vitesse Arnhem, Werder Bremen
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary position: Second Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Rashica started on the left wing and had a very quiet game for Bremen, struggling to impact the game from wide positions and being marked out of the game when moving centrally to try and get on the ball. His strengths lie in his ability to use his speed and agility to carry the ball forward and create shooting opportunities for himself or a teammate but, despite showing glimpses of his talent, we did not see that enough in this game.

He lacked movement off the ball, not working hard enough to find the space to give an option for his teammate in possession. He has the ability to run in behind or receive the ball in tight spaces and evade pressure but he needed to be more engaged in the play and not a passive bystander.

Defensively he was required to track back and play quite deep out of possession to add numbers to the defence, especially in the second half where Bremen had very little possession and looked to defend in a 5-4-1 shape. Again, though, while he occupied the spaces to provide defensive support he did not actively work with the full-back to engage and dispossess attackers.

He needed to get closer to his opponent and press with more intensity to close down angles and make it difficult for them to get into crossing positions. It’s worth saying that dropping back when out of possession limited his attacking output as his starting point was very deep when possession was turned over and, as a result, Bremen rarely probed in the attacking third.

In possession he often played safe passes back to the full-back when he could have turned on the ball and utilised his dribbling ability to drive the team forward. This could be partly down to a disciplined Bremen game plan but was also a common theme in a game where it felt like he could have contributed more effectively.

Rating: B2

Rashica is a very highly-rated player and will almost certainly leave for a bigger club this summer. He was perhaps not suited to the system used in this match but perhaps also not mentally invested in a relegation battle, failed to impress in this outing.

Josh Sargent

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 20/02/2000
  • Current Club: Werder Bremen
  • Career: Werder Bremen
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sargent played as a lone striker and worked hard without being able to offer any major contributions to the game. At 6’1″ he is a tall, physical striker who can hold the ball up and bring others into play but he seemed to lack dynamism and creativity. His attacking output was minimal, he didn’t register a shot and struggled to retain possession against the physicality of the Freiburg centre-backs. He did, however, do an excellent job defensively, pressuring the opposition defence and helping his own defence with a number of important clearances in the box.

Bremen tried to utilise his height when attempting to play a long ball for him to win in the air but this was largely ineffective due to the aerial dominance of the Freiburg defence. He needs to work on his starting position in these situations as too often he found himself on the wrong side of the defender who had been able to get in front of him and meet the ball virtually unopposed.

His lack of speed means he is far more likely to receive the ball with his back to goal in the attacking build-up so he needs to be able to use his body more effectively to be able to win the ball and move it on to a teammate. He possesses the physical attributes to be able to do so and did manage a couple of smart lay-offs so with more time and increased experience this is something that should improve.

Rating: B2

Sargent is a player who does a lot of good work off the ball that can often go unnoticed. Strikers will ultimately, though, be judged on attacking output and this is where improvements can be made to become more of a threat to the opposition.

Maximillian Eggestein

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 08/12/1996
  • Current Club: Werder Bremen
  • Career: Werder Bremen
  • Position: Centre midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Eggestein played an understated but important role in the midfield for Bremen, winning back possession and moving the ball on to a teammate simply but effectively. His passing range was quite limited but mostly accurate and he was involved in some intricate passages of interplay that moved the ball into shooting positions. With the creativity of Klaassen next to him his role was more focused on holding his position and breaking up the play in the midfield areas.

He did not look very mobile and his movement was quite laboured and heavy-footed but he positioned himself well when making tackles and displayed good strength in physical contests. In the second-half his defensive capabilities became increasingly important to Bremen preserving their lead, joining the defensive line late on to make a number of interceptions and win some important headers. He also threatened with a shot from range in the first half that was deflected just over the bar.

Rating: B1

Eggestein’s tactical discipline and intelligence make him a key player in Bremen’s system but he needs to work on his creativity and mobility to take his game to the next level.

Marco Friedl

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 16/03/1998
  • Current Club: Werder Bremen
  • Career: Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Friedl was one of the best players on the pitch and had a big part to play when displaying good strength in the tackle that led to the assist for the Bremen goal. Offensively he was a threat throughout, showing good dribbling ability to make driving runs to the byline from deep and looking for the cutback into the box. He often opted for first time forward passes in possession which was effective in keeping the play moving and maintaining the momentum which eluded both teams for large periods of the game.

He was not as strong defensively as he was going forward and struggled to stop crosses coming into the box as Bremen’s defensive line dropped increasingly further back as the second-half progressed. There was a clear Freiburg game plan to test Bremen aerially with crosses into the box, he needed to be more aggressive and work harder to close the ball down in wide positions instead of standing off the attacker in possession. He was booked in the 30th minute, however, which might have impacted the way in which he engaged opponents as he would not have wanted to be sucked into a challenge that could result in a sending off.

Rating: A2

Friedl showed good technical ability and was an accomplished ball-carrier, on the basis of this display he would suit a top-half team that utilises attacking wing-backs in a possession-based system.


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