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Werder Bremen and Schalke ‘ready to deliver’ on Bundesliga return

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Two of the biggest and most successful teams in German football history are returning to the Bundesliga this weekend, while defunct giants Werder Bremen and Schalke are back in the top flight after a season in the second division.

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Bremen has won four Bundesliga titles, most recently in 2004, and six German Cups, most recently in 2009.

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Schalke have won the Bundesliga seven times, most recently in 1958, and are five-time German Cup winners, last lifting the trophy in 2011.

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“The pre-season has come to an end and now it’s time to act,” new Schalke manager Frank Kramer warned ahead of the opening match against FC Cologne on Sunday.

Werder Bremen will open at home against Wolfsburg on Saturday, while champions Bayern will kick off the campaign on Friday at Europa League winners Eintracht in Frankfurt.

While Schalke and Werder Bremen only had to wait one season to return, they took opposite approaches as they aimed to stay in the top table.

Schalke brought in a dozen new players to the Second Division title-winning squad, while Werder Bremen chose to stay with the backbone of the side that won automatic promotion by finishing second.

Werder Bremen will also have British flair, with England under-21 defender Lee Buchanan coming from Derby and Scotsman Oliver Burke, who spent a season in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig in 2016-17.

Defenders Niklas Stark and Amos Pieper should help Werder Bremen improve defensive consistency.

Most importantly for the Green-Whites, they have kept 34-year-old Ole Werner, one of Germany’s most promising coaches.

Werder Bremen languished in 10th place last season when manager Markus Anfang was forced to resign after it was revealed he showed the club fake Covid vaccination certificates.

Werner took charge and was able to direct the ship: Bremen won 14 of their remaining 20 games and soared to the top of the table before finishing the year second.

Werner was typically pragmatic when asked about the club’s prospects on Thursday, saying “the goal should be for us to stay in the division and continue playing in the Bundesliga next year.”

– Schalke is careful –

Despite their downfall, Schalke remains one of the most supported teams in German football, with over 70,000 people showing up for the supporter’s day at the end of July, a far cry from the turmoil that cheered their relegation after winning just three games in 2020. 2021.

Schalke, who won the Europa League in 1997 and played in the Champions League semi-final as recently as 2011, has brought in 12 newcomers in their bid to return to the elite.

Cramer will replace the popular Mike Buskens, who spent 11 years with the club and won eight of the team’s last nine games to secure promotion last season.

Cramer’s first competitive game under the Royal Blues was a 5-0 German Cup victory over Fourth Division Bremer SV, though he pleaded with his team to “keep up” ahead of the bigger test that befell the First Division teams.

Schalke’s defense will be provided by central defender Maya Yoshida, while the captain of the Japanese national team will come free of charge from Sampdoria.

Midfielder Alex Kral, free-kick specialist Florent Mollet, striker Sebastian Polter and winger Tobias Mohr are among the other new additions.

The Schalke front line will continue to be led by Second Division specialist Simon Terodde, who scored 30 goals in 30 games in 2021/22.

Terodde, 34, has scored 172 goals in 283 games in the second division and has topped the season’s performance ratings for four different clubs: Bochum in 2016, Stuttgart in 2017, Cologne in 2019 and Schalke in 2022. .



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