Monday, August 10, 2020

Relegation – all bad, many to blame – sport

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For SV Werder Bremen, after the 0: 0 without ideas, the second leg in Heidenheim is now about survival in the Bundesliga. What will become head coach Florian Kohfeldt after that is still open.

The day after, the Werder Bremen team will meet again, but no one knows in what condition. By the end of the week, the seasonal analysis should also be completed to such an extent that, according to sports director Frank Baumann, the club “can say something in public”. But what, nobody knows yet. Everything that has led to the fact that the welfare and woe of the club depends on a single game at 1. FC Heidenheim (Monday, 8:30 p.m.) should be questioned – personnel consequences are not excluded.

“The club has the first word, then I’ll come,” said trainer Florian Kohfeldt, 37, most recently when asked about his future. He has been thoroughly exploring the ups and downs of his profession since he took up the post of head coach in October 2017. Kohfeldt managed to stay in the first season, achieved the best result in years with 53 points in the second and gave the team so much contour that the German Football Association saw him as the “coach of the year”.

The crash was correspondingly blatant in his third year. The Bremen team saved themselves late in the relegation – just to show again in the first leg against Heidenheim (0: 0) what they lost in this worst season in club history: ideas, courage, aggressiveness, risk of scoring, charisma, form. Kohfeldt’s journey once led to the stars and back, to the survival game in Heidenheim.

Most recently, the coach clearly noticed the effort to stand unconditionally in front of his team. In the uninspiring 0-0 against Heidenheim, he sarcastically complained that the players would never have implemented his plan, “so I don’t know if it was a good plan”. From front to back, “everything was bad”. Already in Mainz, when Werder gave up the last chance of remaining in the class, the otherwise so confident football teacher resigned for a moment. “On 33 match days,” he said on match day 33, “we didn’t manage to be there” in the crucial situations. “Maybe we misjudged the performance of some players,” said Marco Bode, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, recently. It would have been a common mistake for the athletic leadership, including sports director Baumann and coach Kohfeldt. “The one guilty,” said Bode, but there probably isn’t – and therefore (subtext!) Not a ritual trainer victim. Kohfeldt is bound to Werder until 2023.

The suffering of the young trainer is noticeable in Kohfeldt: the pressure compensated with hundreds of chewing gums spewed out, the stress sweated out in liters. The situation was “very stressful”, said Kohfeldt on Sunday, also for him. But he had carefully considered whether he wanted this job, “otherwise I might be with the old men from Jahn Delmenhorst and do another job”. Kohfeldt comes from the Bremen area, almost every heart here depends on Werder, and he answered yes to the question “Do you want to be there for your club?”

He is now the face of the club. In addition to rather supercooled temperaments such as Baumann, Bode or Klaus Filbry, as chairman of the management board formally the boss of the whole, Kohfeldt looks like a floodlight under desk lamps. You have to watch him to measure Werder’s temperature. But he is also the only one who can convey passion – no one there who would relieve him in this regard. It is not out of the question that Kohfeldt’s advisor Marc Kosicke, who also manages the careers of Jürgen Klopp or Julian Nagelsmann, advises his client to move to a less emotionally charged place in order to learn distance. Before that, Heidenheim is still in the best all-or-nothing tradition, and Kohfeldt wants to believe in a good end for Werder – as a coach and Fan. “Somehow these are the days when history is written,” he said, “and you want to be there. We dreamed of it when we were little.”

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