Munich - Werder Bremen came agonisingly close to taking a share of the Matchday 1 spoils at Borussia Dortmund on Friday night. However, it was left to BVB substitute Mario Götze to strike a late winner, ensuring that Thomas Schaaf's charges travelled back to the Weser empty-handed.
"The outlook for the future is good"
After the disappointment of last weekend's first-round DFB Cup exit to Preußen Münster, Bremen's opening night encounter against the reigning titleholders served to rekindle hope. Summer signing Theodor Gebre Selassie grabbed Werder's only goal in the 2-1 reverse, but the performance as a whole suggests head coach Thomas Schaaf and Co. have every reason to be optimistic about the new campaign.
Despite the result, club skipper Clemens Fritz had some honest, but positive words of encouragement for the four-time Bundesliga champions. "[Both sides] played their part in an intense contest and had their chances. We showed great courage going forward, but luck wasn't quite on our side," said Bremen's captain. "In the first half we were really good going forward, but lacked the killer instinct in the final third. However, it's important we go home with our heads held high. We all had to work hard after the cup exit and the outlook for the future is good."
Though they boast a rich history in Germany's top flight, Bremen are very much a club in transition after offloading established players such as star striker Claudio , Naldo, Marko Marin and goalkeeper Tim Wiese. The cup exit only exacerbated fears that the Hanseatic outfit were in for a difficult season. Greek international Sokratis Papasthathopoulos, however, has no doubt that this summer's arrivals will compensate for the players lost. "We have a lot of quality this season. If we build upon this match, then we can accomplish quite a lot," stated the 24-year-old centre-back.
Further striking options
Kevin de Bruyne, Eljero Elia and Gebre Selassie all had an impact on Friday's encounter as they made their first league starts for their new employers. With fellow summer signing Nils Petersen yet to reach his peak physical condition, Schaaf was forced to play de Bruyne as the lone striker in his three-pronged attack, a position the Belgian had never previously played in.
As a result there is further reason to believe Bremen will continue going from strength to strength this season. Petersen is ready to prove his fitness, while Joseph Akpala, who scored 15 goals for Club Brugge last season, should provide stiff competition for the man on loan from FC Bayern Munich. High-profile departures and back-to-back defeats aside, the Green and Whites will be determined to make good on their captain's words of wisdom as they look to get themselves off the mark at home to Hamburger SV next Saturday.