Following a taxing race against the drop last season, bundesliga.com runs the rule over the Green-Whites' table-scrambling prospects in 2014/15...
After acclimatising to life in the Bundesliga last term, the onus will be on Argentine striker to fire Bremen up the league ladder in 2014/15. The 25-year-old scored four goals and chipped in with as many assists in 23 appearances in his debut season in German football, albeit showing the odd flash of brilliance to suggest he has enough quality in the locker at least to push double figures in the new campaign. Assuming he gets the service, he has every chance.
Defensively, meanwhile, the acquisition of Alejandro Galvez from La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano de Madrid has the potential to be one of the signings of the summer. The 25-year-old played an integral role in helping his former club stave off relegation in his two seasons in Spain's top tier and will add an extra layer of protection to the Green-Whites' sometimes porous rearguard. The Spaniard excelled in the holding role in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea FC, but is a centre-back by trade.
After taking SC Freiburg back to the top flight in 2009, Robin Dutt spent a short stint at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, before embracing the position of sporting director at the Deutscher Fußball Bund (DFB). In May 2013, he found the opportunity to join four-time Bundesliga champions Bremen too good to miss and, having expertly tempered expectations from the outset, the 49-year-old now has a solid foundation on which to reshape the club's future.
Indeed, taking over from veteran Thomas Schaaf last summer, Dutt mastered Bremen's season of transition admirably in 2013/14. Die Grün-Weißen all but secured their Bundesliga status with three games to spare, ultimately ending the campaign 12 points clear of the relegation zone in 12th. Not bad for a side that conceded more goals (66) - including 18 in four games against FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund - than any other side outside the relegation zone.
After fighting tooth and nail to avoid being dragged into the bottom three last term, Dutt now has his sights set on a far smoother ride. "Making the next step has to be our goal," he explained. "The lads have been giving it absolutely everything so far this summer. I've never seen a togetherness and team spirit like ours. It's really something to behold." Just to put Dutt's good work into context: this time last season he spoke of nothing else but "maintaining our Bundesliga status and reaching the 40-point mark".
Sebastian Mielitz's move to SC Freiburg suggests Raphael Wolf will start the season as the undisputed no.1 between the posts. Galvez will almost certainly figure, while fellow new recruit Izet Hajrovic will be expected to fill the creative boots of the departed Aaron Hunt. Dutt has options up top, too, with Fin Bartels - a seasoned Bundesliga 2 frontman - now jockeying for a place in a possible three-pronged attack alongside the likes of Eljero Elia, Nils Petersen and Franco Di Santo.
Bremen have been on fire this summer, recording eight wins and two draws in eleven pre-season outings to date. Of their 40-goal haul, 17 strikes came against regional outfits BW Schwalbe Tündern and VfL Oldenburg, before Eljero Elia, Ludovic Obraniak and Felix Kroos hit their net-busting stride in a 3-0 win of Premier League giants Chelsea FC. Despite a subsequent 1-0 loss to Leicester City FC, Dutt's men began competitive action with a 3-2 win after extra time against FV Illertissen in the DFB Cup first round.