We want so investigate how their player transfers influenced the performance and we will start the investigation at the time they qualified the last time for the Champions League. Due to the qualification, they had still the extra income that comes with the participation, money that will be amiss in the season thereafter. Not to get lost in too many details, we will look at the transfers position by position and summarize in the end.
The analysis is based on our Goalimpact methodology. You can read about the algorithm here and here.
2009/2010, when Werder qualified for the Champions League the last time, they had mainly two keepers in the team. Tim Wiese was national goal keeper and Vander was his replacement in case of injury or suspension. Whilst Werder preformed significantly worse when Vander was playing, this didn't cause a big problem because Wiese stayed fit.
|Tim Wiese||116.6||113.3||112.6||0 €|
|Christian Vander||90.0||83.9||77.0||0 €|
|Sebastian Mielitz||96.8||101.3||104.6||103.4||104.3||0 €|
|Raphael Wolf||200 k€||81.4||81.6||82.4|
|Richard Strebinger||0 €||81.1||85.4||95.9|
|Raif Husic||100 k€||73.0|
One season later, Vander was replaced by the talent Sebastian Mielitz as second keeper. A good move, because Mielitz was already batter than Vander and appeared to have a lot of talent. Wiese, along with the whole team, performed worse than expected and saw both GI and PeakGI drop.
After Wiese's contract ended in the summer 2012, Mielitz became the first keeper. Because as the same time Vander ended his career, Werder brought in two new young keepers, Raphael Wolf and Richard Strebinger. Apparently, Werder was unsatisfied with Mielitz' performance and they refused to prelong his contract and replaced him with Wolf after only one season as first keeper. According to Goalimpact, that was a rather bad choice. Wolf has a significantly lower Goalimpact.
To summarize, Bremen spent a net 300,000€ on keepers to lower their keeper performance 30 Goalimpact points. To be fair, both Stebinger and Husic are very talented and the investment may pay off in future. For Wolf, we don't see a future that bright. We suggest to make Streibinger the first keeper as short term improvement.
At the time Werder qualified for the Champions League the last time, they had an excellent defense in the box. Mertesacker and Naldo were both next to world class and maybe the best center back duo in Bundesliga at that time.
|Per Mertesacker||137.9||137.3||11,300 k€|
|Petri Pasanen||133.9||128.0||0 €|
|Mikaël Silvestre||0 €||99.6||89.3||0 €|
|Sokratis||4,100 k€||102.2||100.4||9,900 k€|
|François Affolter||500 k€||110.2||0 €|
|Mateo Pavlovic||650 k€||89.9||88.5||92.9|
|Assani Lukimya||0 €||106.2||99.8||99.2|
|Luca Caldirola||2,250 k€||93.9||94.2|
At the end of the season 2010/2011, Mertesacker and Pasanen left. Mertesacker was sold for substantial amount of money, Pasanen without transfer income, because Werder and the player couldn't agree on the conditions for the new contract. Naldo was injured for more than one year and sold one year later for another few million Euros.
|From its for center backs, Werder chose to keep only Prödl, the|
weakest player. They were unlucky that he underperformed
expectations falling below Bundesliga minimum.
Then followed investments in Pavlovic, Lukimya, Caldirola and Galvez which, along with long-time Werder player Prödl, form today's center back. In the good old times, the average Goalimpact of the Werder central defense was 127.0. This is now down to 96.5. It is fair to say, that Werder sold their assets and hence had a net transfer income from CBs only of 18,500,000 €. But the players now in the team are hardly on the level you'd expect from a Bundesliga team, even as Caldirola is expected to improve a bit as he is only 23 years old.
Advise: If the team plans to stay in Bundesliga, we suggest going back to the drawing table for the central defense. For the short term, playing Lukimya and Galvez seems to be the best option. However, Galvez plays currently often as defensive midfielder.
The defenders on the left and right back were never as good as the central defenders. But in back in summer 2010, they were more than just decent with Boenisch and Fritz. Werder didn't manage to keep Boenisch as he considered their offer as not sufficient and his contract expired. Fritz plays until today, but due to his age his performance decreased significantly.
|Aymen Abdennour||104.0||0 €|
|Sebastian Boenisch||112.2||112.5||110.2||0 €|
|Dominik Schmidt||93.3||93.5||0 €|
|Aleksandar Ignjovski||500 k€||90.23||89.38||90.83||0 €|
|Florian Hartherz||200 k€||95.1||150 k€|
|Lukas Schmitz||1,000 k€||106.6||106.0||103.3||0 €|
|Theodor Gebre Selassie||1,800 k€||108.8||102.5||101.6|
|Santiago García||2,000 k€||93.7||93.1|
|2010, Clemens Fritz was a very good player, but he aged|
as expected since then and can't deliver as good performance
for a full 90 minutes anymore.
In total the average Goalimpact of LBs/RBs dropped from 105.6 to a meager 94.7. Most of the loss in performance origins from the transfer policy, some is caused by aging and some by worse than expected player development.
On the upside, the young talent Marnon Busch is expected to reach that level soon and hence we'd suggest to play Bush and Selassie as the current best selection. That said, at least one additional player should be hired according to Goalimpact, because Fritz isn't fit enough anymore for 90 minutes and Garcia lacks the quality.
For a long time, defensive midfield was synonym to Thorsten Frings in Bremen. Frings was a world class defensive midfielder and some say that Germany might have won the World Cup 2006 semifinals against Italy if it wasn't for his suspension. With his departure in Summer 2011, all that was left was below average Bundesliga level.
|Peter Niemeyer||98.8||900 k€|
|Torsten Frings||137.6||120.4||0 €|
|Daniel Jensen||113.3||100.4||0 €|
|Tom Trybull||200 k€||91.0||99.6||100 k€|
|Felix Kroos||240 k€||99.5||97.4||101.0||101.8||102.0|
Werder didn't invest money into that position that many think is pivotal in modern football. They even hat a small net profit of 560,000€ in transfers. According to Goalimpact, Felxis Kroos was a good buy, but he failed to develop as expected after the transfer. Still he is now the best player available for that position.
According to Goalimpact, Werder's strength used to be the defensive players, but in the spot light used to be the offensive midfield. After years of glory with Johan Micoud and Diego, the last success is tight with the young Mesut Özil. Despite Özil's doubtless impact, Aaron Hunt and Tim Borowski also played an important role.
|Tim Borowski||117.1||109.1||101.7||0 €|
|Said Husejinovic||96.4||96.9||0 €|
|Marko Marin||105.1||102.8||100.4||8,000 k€|
|Mesut Özil||120.2||18,000 k€|
|Aaron Hunt||115.4||111.9||110.3||105.4||98.9||0 €|
|Wesley||7,500 k€||93.1||93.5||6,000 k€|
|Predrag Stevanovic||100 k€||90.4||91.1||93.6||96.1||0 €|
|Florian Trinks||91.7||91.9||50 k€|
|Zlatko Junuzovic||800 k€||100.0||98.4||93.6||92.1|
|Mehmet Ekici||5,000 k€||109.8||110.8||111.0||1,500 k€|
|Aleksandar Stevanovic||€0||91.0||98.3||110.0||0 €|
|Kevin De Bruyne||450 k€||105.6||0 €|
|Cédric Makiadi||3,000 k€||88.0||87.0|
|Ludovic Obraniak||1,500 k€||98.4||97.8|
With Özil's departure to Real Madrid, the fortune of signing excellent creative midfielder seemed to have left the team. They had already secured the service of "Germany's Messi", Marko Marin. A player that was never rated by Goalimpact as high as he was described by the media. Werder did a good deal in selling him for 8M€ as the market value halved shortly thereafter.
The signing of Wesley was seen as way too expensive by Goalimpact. You don't want to pay 7.5M€ for a player that has only a Goalimpact of 93 and is expected to peak at 97. The team contained the damage by selling him at only a small discount again.
The signings of Ekici and Aleksandar Stevanovic, while both no new Özil, were actually quite good, but they were removed from the team at the beginning of the current season. Without them, there is no Bundesliga offensive midfield left to speak of. All of them are below the minimum level of 100 and they are not expected to improve much more, too. The sale of Ekici happened after our Bundesliga season prediction. Even with him on the team, we saw Bremen as the weakest team in the competition. Now we consider the team as even weaker.
Bremen earned a net 19,700,000€ from selling their assets in the offensive midfield, but it caused the average player Goalimpact on that position to drop from 110.8 to 93.4.
Werder's strikers weren't world-class back in 2010, but they were all above average. However, Werder chose not to prolong the contracts of Almeida and Rosenberg and build up a new attack from the scratch around Pizarro. The striker from Peru, however, was unwillingly to prolong his contract due to the little quality in Werder's team and moved to Bayern Munich.
|Claudio Pizarro||112.5||106.6||103.0||0 €|
|Hugo Almeida||114.9||2,000 k€|
|Markus Rosenberg||114.9||750 k€||106.9||0 €|
|Sandro Wagner||350 k€||100.7||550 k€|
|Denni Avdic||2,200 k€||100.7||95.0||1,050 k€|
|Marko Arnautovic||6,200 k€||99.0||95.9||98.4||2,800 k€|
|Eljero Elia||5,500 k€||97.8||90.6||91.5|
|Nils Petersen||500 k€||103.9||102.1||102.0|
|Joseph Akpala||1,500 l€||106.3||250 k€|
|Niclas Füllkrug||€0||77.9||85.0||90.1||400 k€|
|Johannes Wurtz||€0||106.1||300 k€|
|Franco Di Santo||€0||86.1||85.3|
|Davie Selke is going to be Werder's best striker soon. He|
developed excellent and outperformed expectations so far.
Instead Werder placed their hope on Elia whom they bought for 5.5M€. A high price for a player with a Goalimpact of only 98 and not upside (PeakGI 99). Currently, the best striker duo would be Petersen and Selke. The latter is a talent from the own youth and still plays inconsistent, but he has a good prognosis and is expected to peak at 122. In the long-run a second good striker would be needed.
SummaryWerder Bremen reduced the team quality on every single tactical position. The formerly strong defense now looks shaky, the midfield is weak and lacks creativity and the striker seem harmless. To make things worse, there is only few talent in the team that would let us expect future improvement.
|Regular substantial transfer surpluses lead to a continuous decline in|
the average team quality. The Goalimpact reduced every single year and
now is below the minimum level you'd expect for a Bundesliga team.
Still, in total the Goalimpact reveals a reduction in team quality every single year since the last Champions League qualification and generated a net cash-in of 20M€. We hesitate to call this a profit, as the positive cash-flow was more than offset by the reduction of team market value. The Goalimpact used to be well above 110, the level needed to be a contender for Champions League qualification, down to below 100, the level that makes relegation likely.
Looking forward, it is difficult to see if the new trainer, Viktor Skripnik, can avoid the relegation. Given the weak team it is not obvious that the problems were caused by his predecessor Robin Dutt. It is more likely that the demise was caused by a short-sighted transfer policy and a few bad scoutings prior to Dutt's arrival in Bremen. You don't need a crystal ball to foresee that Werder will relegate unless they make a 180° turn-around in transfer spending. Rather than swapping player quality into cash, they need to build up a new team that has improved quality. The latest scoutings and signings were not promising in this respect. There are rumors that Werder is willing to spend on new players in the Winter break. Winter is not the best time for signings and given the bad start in the season, it may already be to late to turn-around then.
And there is more bad news, with the current team, Werder would also struggle to stay in the 2. Liga, in case they will get relegated. Certainly an immediate re-promotion is very unlikely. So our final advise is to start thinking in long-term. An advise not easy to follow in times of trouble.