Werder Bremen v Fortuna Düsseldorf
Ground: Weser-Stadion, Bremen
For the first time since starting this blog, I went overseas to watch football. Together with a friend I traveled to Germany for a weekend over there, starting in the north of the country, in Bremen. Germany in December is always a good place to travel to, with their Christmas markets and festivities. In that sense Bremen was no disappointment. We explored the city and then went to the ground by tram.
SV Werder Bremen got founded in 1899 as Fußballverein Werder. In their early years they won a number of local championships. In 1920 they changed their name to Sportverein Werder Bremen with football as the main interest of the club. In 1922 they became the first German club to hire a professional coach. Their first real successes were when they won their regional league in 1934, 1936 and 1937. Germany didn’t have a national league until 1963 and the winners of the regional leagues played in the national championships. In none of their 3 appearances they qualified from the group stage (16 teams played in 4 groups for 4 semi finals spots). In 1961 they won the DFB Pokal (German Cup), their first national trophy. Werder Bremen were founder members of the Bundesliga in 1963, in which they constantly played except for 1 season in the 2nd Bundesliga in 1980/81. They won the league in 1965, 1988, 1993 and 2004 (in 2004 they won the double). They won the DFB Pokal a total of 6 times, most recently in 2009. In 1992 they won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and in 2009 they were runners up in the last UEFA-Cup before it was rebranded as the Europa League. In the last seasons they have struggled at time and got close to the relegation zone on occasions. However, each time they survived fairly comfortably in the end. Last season they finished 11th and they will be looking to improve now. Before this game, they were 9th in the table.
Werder Bremen play at the “Weserstadion”. The first stadium on the site got opened in 1909 on the banks of the Weser river, surrounded by green parks. In 1926 the first big stand got built. Between 1934 and 1945 the ground has mainly been used by the “Third Reich” regime, after which the Americans took it over. In 1947 it got reopened as the Weserstadion. It’s about 1 km outside of Bremen city centre with good connections by tram. Originally the ground had an athletics track, which was removed in 2002. Between 2008 and 2012 the ground has been completely revamped. It’s an impressive stadium now, with 2 tiers and a great view on the pitch everywhere.
The atmosphere at the game was great, it was a sell-out crowd with an impressive following from Fortuna Düsseldorf, who were bottom of the league. Werder Bremen were the stronger team and took the lead midway through the first half. The guests equalised from a penalty awarded after VAR just before half time. In the second half Werder took the initiative and scored 2 more goals, earning a well deserved 3-1 win. The experience of this trip was great. I haven’t been to many games in Germany in the past and it’s different from games in the UK, but a nice change. Bremen is a great city to spend time in and my trip was very enjoyable.