Werder after the draw against berlin: the coach’s dialectic

Werder Bremen misses many chances in the 1:1 draw against Hertha BSC. Werder coach Florian Kohfeldt is nevertheless optimistic about the big picture.

A thank you to the fans, then the work goes on immediately: Werder coach Florian Kohfeldt on Saturday Photo: dpa

"What are you working on?", Mr. K. was asked. Mr. K. replied, "I have a lot of trouble, I’m preparing my next mistake."

Florian Kohfeldt does not answer the journalists’ questions quite as philosophically as Mr. Keuner in Bertolt Brecht’s stories. Nevertheless, the round of talks with the Werder coach after Bundesliga games is always a lesson for the questioners. After the game against Hertha BSC, the soccer coach gave a brief introduction to the art of dialectics that would have delighted Brecht.

In this case, Kohfeldt had to explain a game that his team started early in the desired direction with the 1:0 in the 8th minute by Josh Sargent and which they could have decided in their favor by the 70th minute through a multitude of beautifully played out chances. And from which, due to a carelessness in the 71st minute and the resulting equalizer by Dodi Lukebakio, yet only a point stuck.

"It feels like a defeat. The way the game is going, you have to win it," Kohfeldt said, lamenting the lack of consistency in handling his own chances as well as in his defensive handling of the equalizer. "But at the same time – and this is part of the most difficult part of my job – I also have to think about the big picture just an hour after the end of the game," he continued. "Today we showed means to win games. We now have to develop those means."

System change during the game

To recognize the means for future success in a perceived defeat – and then to be able to name them precisely – that clearly sets Kohfeldt apart from the usual black-and-white painting of the soccer scene.

Under Kohfeldt’s direction, Werder’s means consist mainly of fast combination play, in which lateral, upright and vertical passes with counter-attacking movements and good staggering of the offensive forces are fluidly intertwined and lead to chances. In addition, as against Hertha, Kohfeld is able to change the system during the game – in this case from the five-man backfield with Nuri sahin as the middle man to a diamond with substitute Philipp Bargfrede as the only six.

During the week, Kohfeldt’s heart had already "beaten faster," in his own words, because after the international break and the return of some injured players, there were "top units" on the training pitch in which the automatisms necessary for the combination game could be worked out. No one on Werder’s side tried to explain the fact that it was still only enough for a point with the fact that some of the top players are still injured or have been spared.

The central defense with Christian Grob, who only recently made his Bundesliga debut as a thirty-year-old, and the long-injured MiloŇ° Veljkovic again stood securely. And Sargent, who had only just returned from an international match with the USA squad before the game, was alert and dangerous until his substitution despite jet lag.

More determination

Nevertheless, the impression remained that with Niklas Moisander and omer Toprak in defense and Yuya Osako and Niclas Fullkrug in attack, there would be that little bit more determination to win such a close game against a strong opponent.

At least Toprak and Osako could be back on the pitch next Saturday at Bayer Leverkusen. However, some observers fear the team may have already dropped too many points to achieve the season’s goal of qualifying for a European competition.

At the moment, five points separate Werder in 11th place from that goal. "I’ve just used my math performance course skills again," said Mr K, "and realized that it was matchday eight: 34 minus 8 is 26 – accordingly, that’s still a lot, a lot of time to collect points and talk about season goals."

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