Werder Bremen barely avoided Bundesliga relegation this past season. They sneaked into the playoffs on the final day of the season after winning 6-1 against FC Koln, and then barely got past FC Heidenheim over two legs, only staying up on away goals.
It was a great escape, sure, but there was no reason for the Green-Whites to be in that position in the first place. A club of their stature should easily be in the top half of the table, challenging for European qualification spots.
Bremen know this, and are desperate to return to the upper echelons of the Bundesliga standings. That’s why this upcoming offseason is so crucial. If they can buy the right players for the right price, then there’s plenty of reason to believe they’ll be back where they belong next campaign.
Here are some potential summer signings for the Green-Whites.
Let’s start with the most marquee name and realistic option available.
Becoming a free agent at the end of the season when his contract with Borussia Dortmund expired, Mario Gotze is now without a club. Yes, the man who won the World Cup only six years ago will now be available for anyone to sign without having to pay a transfer fee.
The midfielder may not be good enough for the very highest level of European football, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get the job done elsewhere. Still only 28 years old as well, Gotze could be a key player for a midtable side in any country on the planet.
If he wants to stay in Germany, then a move to Bremen could be his best possible option.
Although the Green-Whites only barely avoided relegation this campaign, everyone knows they are too good to hang around the bottom of the league standings. They’re only a few pieces away from contending for a top-half finish, and Gotze might be the catalyst for change.
Bremen need a true number 10 who can create and score chances on the field. Their midfield is solid, yet unspectacular, so a creative playmaker would suit the system very well. Gotze is able to do a little bit of everything in the final third, whether it be picking out a killer pass or finding the back of the net from the edge of the area.
It’s a deal that makes too much sense for both sides.
There are no rumors linking Gotze to the Green-Whites at the moment, but there are reports of a different player potentially coming to the club on loan.
Tahith Chong was, at one point, one of the hottest prospects in world football. The Manchester United academy product was lighting it up at youth level, with clips of his skills going viral on a weekly basis. He was pitching in with goals and assists too, proving that there was substance to his style.
However, it’s not quite come together for Chong since getting called up to the first team. He’s found consistent game time on the field hard to come by, which has halted his development. With that in mind, there have been reports that United will look to loan out the Dutchman for this upcoming season.
That’s where Bremen come into play.
With star man Milot Rashica set to leave, the Green-Whites know they’ll need to bring in a suitable replacement. Chong isn’t quite at his level yet, but he’s certainly got the potential to shine when called upon. He just needs a chance, and he could get that at Wohninvest Weserstadion.
Still only 20 years old, the winger has plenty of time to revive his career. If all goes well, Bremen will have a new attacking threat out wide for the year, and they could even buy him outright for the right price when the loan deal is done.
It’d be a low risk, high reward move for the Green-Whites.
If Bremen want a more proven commodity on the wing, then they can turn to one of the continent's most underrated attackers.
Edin Visca has flown under the radar the last few seasons, but his most recent campaign should absolutely lead to a move to a top five league. Playing for Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir, Visca scored 19 goals and assisted 14 more in all competitions, leading the team to their first Super Lig title.
After almost a decade in Turkey, it’s time for Visca to finally make a big money move elsewhere. With the aforementioned departure of Rashica set to make Bremen a decent amount of cash, the club should immediately use those funds to go after Visca.
Incredibly explosive out wide, Visca uses his pace and dribbling ability to devastating effect. He can blow past his marker in the blink of an eye, and is clinical enough in the final third to finish off any chances he creates. The Bosnian has shown his class on the international level as well, and could become a star in the Bundesliga like his fellow countrymen like Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic.
Visca has a few good seasons left in him as a 30 year old, so the Green-Whites should secure his signature before it’s too late.
The best place to discover bargain deals is at recently relegated clubs, and Bremen only need to look at the team who finished bottom of the Bundesliga this past season to find a potentially shrewd bit of business.
Paderborn had a rough campaign, only picking up 20 points while ending up in 20th by a fair margin. They had effectively been relegated months before it actually happened, as they just never got going. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone was poor, as there were still a few standout performers for the club.
One such player was Sebastian Vasiliadis, who had a real breakout season in 2020. A constant presence in the midfield, he sat back and stopped opposing attacks time and time again by either intercepting passes or lunging into challenges. The Greek only stands at 5’9”, but he uses his low center of gravity to put off others on the ball.
Vasiliadis also gets up and down the pitch, with his seemingly endless stamina reminding some of N’Golo Kante. He covers a lot of the field, allowing his teammates more freedom to push forward. It’s a thankless task, but he does a lot of the necessary dirty work.
Bremen already have Maximilian Eggestein and Davy Klaassen, so adding Vasiliadis to the midfield could make them a nightmare to play against. Imagine that trio literally running circles around the rest of the Bundesliga.
The Green-Whites will have to outbid a few of their rivals to get Vasiliadis, who is a wanted man in Germany, but any price that’s paid will almost certainly be worth it.
Sometimes you have to take risks in football.
An enigma of the modern day, no one’s quite sure what has happened to Mesut Ozil in recent years. One of the classiest midfielders on the planet, he’s been benched by both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta at Arsenal in recent seasons. Ozil has loads of talent, of course, but he no longer performs on a consistent basis. Now you see him, now you don’t.
Despite his flaws, the German still should be starting for a team at the highest level. Simply magic on the ball, Ozil has been an elite level passer for close to a decade.
It was 10 years ago when Ozil was a young star on the rise at Bremen, and there’s a chance a move back to the Wohninvest Weserstadion could bring the magic back. It would be a bold transfer for the club, as he’ll cost a bit in terms of fee and weekly wages, but maybe it’s a risk worth taking.
A motivated Ozil with support behind him is incredibly dangerous, and would fix a lot of issues the Green-Whites have going forward. It’s time to bring him back home.
This only counts as a bonus entry as it’s likely impossible, but hear me out for a second.
Everyone knows Andre Schurrle retired from football a few weeks ago. He had grown tired of the constant travel and questions surrounding his career, so he decided to call it quits at the age of 29.
However, there’s a chance Bremen could rekindle his love of the game. Schurrle would be back home in Germany, and would be a constant presence in the starting lineup. With things settled both on and off the field, the winger could finally focus on his craft and go back to being a constant attacking threat. The former World Cup winner still has a lot left in the tank, he just needs to be at the right place.
There’s nothing Bremen can lose by asking him to consider a comeback.