Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen official Twitter

Aron Johannsson close to return for Werder Bremen

Leave a comment

United States international Aron Johannsson has been struck with injury after injury over the past four years, but the 28-year-old could be nearing a return to the Werder Bremen squad soon.

Johannsson, who has missed the entire season due to ankle problems that finally required surgery in November, “could be in squad contention again soon” according to Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt. The Bremen boss said in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s match against FC Mainz that Johannsson has made “so much progress” and is nearing his return.

Since joining the Bundesliga club in 2015 from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, Johannsson has made just 29 total appearances across all competitions thanks to hip, knee, and ankle injuries. The owner of 19 international caps and a spot on the 2014 World Cup roster, Johannsson has not played for the United States since September of 2015 largely due to his plethora of injuries.

A month ago, Johannsson told the official Bundesliga website, “My foot still stiffens up sometimes, but I wouldn’t call it painful. I’ve trained a lot recently, doing two sessions per day six days a week. I’m well prepared. The plan is for me to take part in full training regularly in a couple of weeks.”

However, it wasn’t always like that for Johannsson, who has dealt with serious pain over the past few years, even considering retirement. “I still had a lot of pain after seven months,” Johannsson said to the Bundesliga website regarding his latest ankle problem. “Then I had one of those rare bad days. I was at home and said to my wife, ‘maybe it’s the end of the line. I’ll have to see what else I can do’. I briefly thought about ending my career, but thankfully she was able to calm me down and told me I needed to be patient. The next day I was in a good mood again.”

Unfortunately for Johannsson, the competition is fierce at Werder Bremen up front. Even with 40-year-old Claudio Pizarro picking up a hamstring injury, fellow US international Josh Sargent was relegated to the bench in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, with Milot Rashica and Johannes Eggestein starting up front. Rashica picked up a goal in the win to support a brace from captain Max Kruse. Still, with three league matches over the next week, Johannsson could potentially find a way in.

USMNT’s Sargent signs ‘long-term’ extension with Werder

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
Leave a comment

Josh Sargent’s stock is rising as quickly as any American player’s stock has ever risen, but Werder Bremen intend to keep the 19-year-old forward among their ranks for quite some time in the wake of signing him to a “long-term contract extension.”

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for Week 28 (Tuesday & Wednesday) ]

Werder, who sit ninth in the Bundesliga table, announced the deal on Tuesday, four days after the U.S. men’s national team starlet made his first league start in a 1-1 draw with Stuttgart on Friday.

Head coach Florian Kohfeldt was full of praise for the St. Louis, Mo., native: “If you see Josh in the dressing room, in training or on a matchday, you see someone who wants to watch and learn, not just a very talented young footballer. I’m sure that Josh will become a very important part of the squad.”

[ MORE: Premier League midweek streaming, TV schedule ]

Sargent is arguably the best center forward prospect the USMNT has ever had, mixing loads of technical talent and a creative mind with great spatial awareness and timing on his movement. With any luck, he’ll continue to develop in a prominent role at Werder for at least two more seasons, scoring a boatload of goals in the process, before following in the footsteps of Christian Pulisic’s $73-million transfer to one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

USMNT’s Sargent makes 1st Bundesliga start in Bremen’s 1-1 draw

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
Leave a comment

BREMEN, Germany (AP) Werder Bremen’s European hopes were damaged by a 1-1 home draw with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga Friday.

Bremen had been hoping to get closer to Wolfsburg, which occupies the last Europa League qualifying position in sixth spot, but had to be content with a move up to ninth.

Steven Zuber fired Stuttgart ahead after 61 seconds. The former Hoffenheim striker stayed cool after he was sent through by Mario Gomez to shoot beyond Bremen keeper Jiri Pavlenka and inside the far post.

Despite more possession for the hosts, it was Stuttgart which had the better chances – Gomez spurning two good opportunities – and the visitors were left to rue the misses when Max Kruse set up Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen to equalize with a powerful strike before the break.

“I’m sorry for the team,” Gomez said.

Bremen brought on Claudio Pizarro, who became the oldest ever goalscorer when he grabbed a late equalizer against Hertha Berlin last weekend, for the last half-hour but the 40-year-old Peruvian could not find the winner.

American forward Josh Sargent made his first league start for Bremen.

Stuttgart remained in the relegation zone with 16 points from 23 games.

On Saturday, second-place Bayern Munich hosts Hertha. Leader Borussia Dortmund takes on Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Claudio Pizarro scores 96th minute equalizer for Werder Bremen

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro is no stranger to the Bundesliga. And yet, on Saturday, he continued a streak nobody else in the history of the German top flight has come close to matching.

The Peruvian international scored a 96th minute equalizer for Werder Bremen in their 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin, taking them to 10th in the table, and while that’s a significant goal for the club as it netted points, it’s not what makes this goal so special.

[ MORE: Americans have bid day in Bundesliga ]

Pizarro’s goal – his third of the league season – made him the oldest goalscorer in Bundesliga history at 40 years and 136 days, passing Mirko Votava who also scored his notable goal with Werder Bremen. Even more special on the age front, the goal was scored off a free-kick which was won by 18-year-old American Josh Sargent, who entered the game in the 75th minute for Milot Rashica, earning his sixth straight substitute appearance for Bremen.

The strike, a low line drive under the wall, got some help from a pair of deflections, but Pizarro gets credit for the goal as his initial shot was on target. It’s his 194th career Bundesliga goal, with 106 of those coming for Werder Bremen. He has scored a Bundesliga goal in every single calendar year since 1999. He has won six Bundesliga titles in his career along with six DFB-Pokal cups.

Pizarro is starting to heat up, with an important cup goal scored against Borussia Dortmund earlier in February, bagging one in the 108th minute to tie the game at 2-2 in a wild finish, and also scoring a goal in the ensuing penalty shootout which Bremen won.

Pulisic scores in wild German Cup match (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even in extra time, Christian Pulisic showed that he has plenty of energy left in the gas tank.

The 20-year-old American winger completed a lung-bursting run, combining with Paco Alcacer to score during Borussia Dortmund’s German Cup match against Werder Bremen. Pulisic’s goal in the 105th minute of the match put Dortmund in the lead, 2-1 at the time.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ]

Unfortunately for Pulisic and his teammates, Dortmund weren’t able to hold on, as Dortmund fell 4-2 on penalty kicks after extra time finished, 3-3.

Fellow American Josh Sargent was not in the Gameday squad for Bremen.

The goal will surely give Pulisic some confidence during what’s been a tough season. However, the defeat may be a blow to the U.S. Men’s National Team star. Pulisic has mainly been playing mid-week League and cup matches, and with Dortmund out of the DFB Pokal, it’s one less opportunity for Pulisic to get playing time.

Of course, this performance could be rewarded by coach Lucien Favre with a regular place in the first team. Ultimately, Dortmund are in pole position to win the Bundesliga and even with Pulisic’s transfer to Chelsea complete, there’s still incentive to get the most out of him while they have him.