Founded in the wake of a tug-of-war competition and with more Bundesliga games than any other team, there's plenty to love about Werder Bremen - on the pitch as well as off it.
By a quirk of fate, Werder Bremen owes its existence to a tug-of-war competition in 1899. We kid you not.
The 16-year-old champion was given a football as his prize and, along with a group of friends, decided to form Fußball Verein (football club) Werder Bremen on 4 February that same year.
In 1920, it was renamed to Sportverein Werder Bremen von 1899 e. V. to reflect its status as a club for a variety of sports, including athletics, chess, tennis, cricket and baseball. Years later the name was later changed again to its present version: SV Werder Bremen (sport club Werder Bremen).
One of the founding members of the Bundesliga, Bremen finished 10th in the league's maiden 1963/64 season and even won the first of four championship titles the following year. They have only been relegated once, in 1979/80, but bounced straight back up again; a feat steeped in significance because it means that on Matchday 1 of the 2019/20 season, they will play their 1867th Bundesliga game, surpassing the previous record held by Hamburg.
Bundesliga winners (1964/65, 1987/88, 1992/93, 2003/04)
Bundesliga 2 winners (1980/81)
DFB Cup winners (1961, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009)
European Cup Winners' Cup winners (1992)
Florian Kohfeldt has been at Bremen since 2006, when he began coaching in the club's youth academy. His stock rose to such an extent that in the 2014/15 season he was named as assistant to first-team boss Viktor Skrypnyk, before taking charge of the club's reserve side in the 2016/17 campaign. Now 36, Kohfeldt was handed the reins of the first team in October 2017 on an interim basis and has not looked back since, even winning Germany's Coach of the Year award in 2018.
Max Kruse was the team's talisman in recent years, but his departure in summer 2019 left a void to be filled. Talented youngsters Milot Rashica, Maximilian Eggestein and Josh Sargent will be hoping to shoulder extra responsibility, but in the meantime Claudio Pizarro is the elder statesman in the dressing room.
The 40-year-old signed a one-year contract extension for the 2019/20 season after proving his value to the club during the previous campaign. In addition to offering priceless words of wisdom to younger teammates - many of whom are half his age - the Peruvian showed he has still got what it takes out on the pitch too, registering five goals and two assists in 26 outings (just three starts) as he became the Bundesliga's oldest ever goalscorer. Clever, clinical and with bags of experience, you'd rather be playing with Pizarro than against him.
Watch: Pizarro: 21 goals from 21 years
Bremen went into the campaign eyeing European qualification and they got off to a flying start, winning five and drawing two of their first eight league outings to sit third in the table. However, a 6-2 thrashing at home by Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 9 knocked the wind out of their sails and Kohfeldt's charges slipped down to 10th by the halfway stage.
Form improved after the winter break though, and they were the only team in the Bundesliga - and one of only two in Europe alongside Paris Saint-Germain - to score in every league game of the season, up until a 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich on Matchday 30. Nevertheless, impressive victories over Leverkusen, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig helped the side earn 11 points more in the second half of the season than they had in the first, but they still missed out on the UEFA Europa League qualifying spot by a single point to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Construction on the Wohninvest Weserstadion - its official name as of July 2019 - was originally completed in 1947, but it has since undergone a number of renovations.
In 2002 the capacity was increased to house 43,500 spectators, while the most recent upgrades took place prior to the 2012/13 season. The roof was completely reconstructed, with solar panels integrated to reduce the club's carbon footprint.
It is situated in one of the most picturesque locations of all Bundesliga stadiums, sitting right on the bank of the city's Weser river. As such fans can even arrive by boat, a service unique to Bremen in all of Germany.
Watch: A look around the Wohninvest Weserstadion
The first city walls were built in 1032, although the area of Bremen was home to settlers and traders for centuries before then. As you might expect, therefore, nowadays the city is home to countless historical artifacts, buildings, galleries and museums.
Its location on the banks of the river Weser means Bremen has traditionally been an important trading post and to this day it remains a commercial and industrial powerhouse in the region.
Attractions - apart from watching a Werder game - include walking tours around the historic centre, St. Peter's Cathedral, the Bürgerpark and taking in the 600-year-old town hall.
Bremen airport is located just south of the city and handles over 2.6 million passengers per year as the regions primary transport hub. There are frequent flights to and from all major European destinations.
As with most places in Germany, public transport is excellent and the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) is located right at the heart of the city.
Getting to the Wohninvest Weserstadion
The area in the immediate vicinity of the stadium is closed to traffic from two and a half hours before kick-off on home matchdays (excluding residents), so anyone hoping to arrive by car should make alternative arrangements.
There are a number Park & Ride services offered, however. Fans arriving from the direction of Hamburg, Hanover and Osnabrück should take the Hemelingen exit on the A1 and aim for the P&R location at Hemelinger Hafen.
Supporters arriving on the A27 from the direction of Bremerhaven should exit the A27 and follow signs for the P&R at Hansa-Carré. Tram lines 2 and 10 also go straight to the stadium.
Valid match tickets double up as travel tickets on all local public transport on matchdays from six hours before kick-off, including all bus, train and tram services.
Anyone feeling slightly more adventurous can arrive by boat. The Sielwall Ferry leaves from the Kuhhirten parking lot accross the Weser river to Osterdeich (Park + Ship).
Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.
Can’t make it? Watch here:
If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. FOX Sports and Univision provide coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with Eurosport hosting one match per week.
Buy the kit
You can get your own Bremen jersey from the official club shop.
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