Werder Bremen ended up 13th last season, their worst finish in more than a decade.
Werder Bremen's greatest strength is also their biggest weakness. The small-market club specializes in developing hot young creative players and then selling them off to bigger teams, where they usually perform far worse than at Bremen. That guarantees some of Germany's best offensive football, and the occasional title, but it also means the club is constantly forced to replace stars.
Last year the plan went haywire. Werder sold Mesut Özil, bought the head-case flop Marko Arnautovic, and suffered an injury crisis that left them without both first-choice central defenders for months. As a result, it was a rough season. But Werder are known for stability and have not had a clear-out ahead of this season.
It's a gamble.
Fun fact: Thomas Schaaf is the first-division coach with the longest tenure (since 1999).
Author: Jefferson Chase
Editor: Matt Hermann