Breaking up a 13-year partnership was bound to hurt, but since sporting director Klaus Allofs defected to Wolfsburg, Bremen have hardly shown any ill-effects, posting a 2-1 win over Fortuna Düsselforf and a 4-1 away victory at Hoffenheim. Despite that, there remains something of a void at the club, but the unexpected separation could help usher in a new era and provide a spark to Bremen's season.
Having already bettered his previous best goal tally in a year with five, finally seems to be delivering on his potential. The Austrian always had the ability decide a game on his own, but keeping a lid on his fiery temper was his biggest challenge. Bremen's patience appears to have paid off, though, with a brilliant hat-trick against Hoffenheim demostrating the 23-year-old's potency.
arrived from Bayern Munich in 2011 on the back of three goals and nine assists in a year-long with Nuremberg. "He fits the bill," said Schaaf at the time. 18 months on, the 22-year-old has so far struggled to make the breakthough. Yet just like Arnautovic was given time, though, the same should be afforded to Ekici. "Of course we expect more from him, but we need him and his qualities; we want to experience his good performances." believes Schaaf.
7 - Number of goals scored by Nils Petersen, Bremen's leading scorer
225 - Captain Clemens Fritz's current tally of Bundesliga appearances
57 - Total goals scored in league games involving Bremen this term, the fourth-highest in the division.
0 - Number of occasions when Bremen have managed consecutive wins this season.
202 Kilometres covered by Kevin de Bruyne thus far.
"It took a while, you can be sure of that," said Schaaf when asked how long it took him to digest the news of Allofs' departure to Wolfsburg. "Of course I'm not happy. I had different ideas."