Four-time Bundesliga winners Werder Bremen were last crowned German champions under Thomas Schaaf in 2003/04. - © Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
Four-time Bundesliga winners Werder Bremen were last crowned German champions under Thomas Schaaf in 2003/04. - © Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
60 years of Bundesliga

Bundesliga club-by-club historical guide: Werder Bremen


A total of 57 clubs have had the honour of competing in the Bundesliga over its 60-year history – with Werder Bremen the second most-frequent team to feature. is taking you through all the teams to have graced Germany’s first division over the last 60 years – based on the number of seasons they've played up to and including 2023/24.

SV Werder Bremen
Years in Bundesliga: 
59 (1963-80, 1981-2021, 2022-present)
Most appearances: Dieter Burdenski (444)
Most goals:
Claudio Pizarro (109)
Youngest player:
Fabio Chiarodia (17 years, four months, 17 days)

Watch: The best of Bremen legend Pizarro

The word Werder literally means ‘ait’ or ‘eyot’ in English and refers to small islands in a river, such as the Peterswerder where the club's Weserstadion home – itself named after the river Weser that flows alongside it – is located. Werder Bremen were founding members of the Bundesliga as one of three qualifiers from the northern Oberliga, and they have had 59 campaigns in the Bundesliga.

While Bayern Munich’s 59 seasons at this level have been continuous, Werder have twice been relegated (in 1980 and 2021) before bouncing back immediately. They were the second team to lift the Bundesliga Meisterschale in 1964/65, having finished 10th in the inaugural season. The Green-Whites have been champions on four occasions in total as well as runners-up seven times – behind only Borussia Dortmund (nine) and Bayern (10) in the latter category. They are one of four teams alongside VfB Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt and Schalke to have played against every single club to have appeared in the Bundesliga prior to 2023/24.

There have been two major eras in Bremen’s Bundesliga history. The first began in April 1981 when Otto Rehhagel, returning for his second spell in charge, succeeded Kuno Klötzer who stepped down for health reasons with the team top of the Bundesliga 2 Nord table following their first relegation. Rehhagel would go on to spend 14 years at the helm, leading the team back to the top flight, immediately establishing them as a top team – always finishing in the top five in each of their first eight seasons back – and winning the title again in 1988. ‘King Otto' led them to glory again in 1993, as well as the DFB Cup in 1991 and 1994, plus UEFA Cup Winners' Cup success in 1992. At the time of his departure to Bayern in 1995, his tenure was the longest ever by a Bundesliga coach.

The second major era was under Thomas Schaaf, who was installed at the end of the 1998/99 season to keep them up. Not only did he achieve that goal, but he also guided them to the DFB Cup title against Bayern. After establishing a free-flowing, attacking team, Schaaf led a side spearheaded by Brazilian Ailton to a historic league and cup double in 2003/04. At the time, Bremen were the only team after Bayern and Cologne to achieve the feat. Schaaf also took them to the UEFA Cup final in 2009, having knocked out arch-rivals Hamburg in the semi-finals. He also won the DFB Cup again that year with a team that included Claudio Pizarro in the second of what would be four spells at the club plus a young Mesut Özil - who scored the only goal in the final against Bayer Leverkusen. Schaaf's 14 years at the helm ended in May 2013, making him the third-longest-serving coach in Bundesliga history.

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