Too late? Bremen’s Kohfeldt let go, club legend takes over

Florian Kohfeldt, Head Coach of Werder Bremen (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Florian Kohfeldt, Head Coach of Werder Bremen (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) /

In typical Werder Bremen fashion, the team showed promise early in the season before flailing dramatically as the season wound down. The club has finally run out of patience with head coach Florian Kohfeldt, letting him go with just one game remaining in the season.

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Kohfeldt has led Bremen since the end of 2017 and is a respected coach in Germany. Despite his coaching talents, the last two seasons have produced little in the way of success. Last season, the club hung onto their place in the Bundesliga by the skin of their teeth, and this year finds them in a remarkably similar position.

Through it all, rumors circulated about Kohfeldt being one loss away from dismissal, yet he remained. The club continued to give him time to turn things around, putting their trust in a man they had every hope would pull them through.

So what is there to gain by releasing him from his duties at this late date? Surely this move is at least half a season too late.

Here’s Werder Bremen’s press release:

"Following the match in Augsburg, we unfortunately no longer have the conviction that we will be able to maintain our Bundesliga status with Florian Kohfeldt as head coach…We remain convinced that Florian Kohfeldt is an excellent coach, but in the present circumstances there is a consensus that a change is necessary in order to avoid relegation."

Is Bremen asking too much of Kohfeldt’s replacement?

Bremen has replaced Kohfeldt with former Bremen coach and club legend Thomas Schaaf. His contract only covers the last game of the season and any relegation playoff match that may follow. In making this change, they have said goodbye to a talented coach who may have struggled but who I still believe had the power to bring out the best in his side even as relegation loomed overhead.

Thomas Schaaf now has the nearly impossible task of pulling the team together in one week to salvage a disappointing season. While I’d certainly like to think Schaaf will emerge as the hero – securing the club’s spot in the Bundesliga for another year – I have my doubts. And at this late stage, I would have liked to see Kohfeldt see his side through to the end.

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It’s anybody’s guess how Bremen’s season will finish. Though they have a shot at remaining in the league and even avoiding a relegation playoff match, their chances of being outright relegated are equally high. It will be a tense final matchday against Borussia Mönchengladbach as their fate once again hangs in the balance.