They have been the Dino of the Bundesliga since this season, nobody else has 56 years to offer.
For many it is inconceivable that Werder Bremen can relegate, no matter what the table (16th place) says. (SERVICE: The Bundesliga table)
Especially after the terrific 3-2 win against Borussia Dortmund in the cup.
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Nevertheless: it is not a natural law. Werder can also descend, it has only been so long ago that no one who wants to keep it with Werder wants to admit it anymore and that even those involved have pushed it out. A journey back in time to the 1979/80 season.
Röber: “That was before the war”
Jürgen Röber is not particularly amused, although he first has to laugh at the reason for the SPORT1-Call.
“That was before the war,” jokes the future success coach of Hertha BSC, who is now officially retired but “still has so much to do”.
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With real estate and such, it doesn’t get more precise. Unfortunately not in the matter that interests us: the descent exactly 40 years ago. The sources speak volumes.
It was the 17th Bundesliga season and it was still teeming with “dinosaurs” in the Bundesliga. HSV, Kaiserslautern, Cologne, Frankfurt and Duisburg were also always there.
SV Werder as the last remaining dino
Werder was number seven in the Eternal Table, even champion in 1965, but struggled continuously to survive in the 1970s.
“Don’t think about descent for once!” titled that kicker-Special issue of his text on the Bremen. It reflects the longing of young manager Rudi Assauer, then 36, who died a year ago today.
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He dreams of eighth place and more in the following years, finally they have expanded the Weser Stadium, the new grandstand completed in 1978 brings better and more expensive seats. The admission ticket in Bremen now costs an average of ten D-marks.
But Werder is still pushing DM 3.2 million in debt, and in the summer of 1979 Assauer can only buy two players.
One raises the greatest expectations: Dave Watson, the Libero from Manchester City, whom Werder then had to pay an exorbitant 397,000 DM. The problems start with him.
Watson lets the star hang out, doesn’t want to learn German and can only talk to Benno Möhlmann. The air was thick before the second season game at 1860 Munich, and a Munich newspaper reported a mutiny against him.
Trainer Weber and the consequences of the press confession
Inexperienced trainer Wolfgang Weber, in his second season, makes the mistake of having Watson translate the preprint. Watson is loaded accordingly, provokes himself and flies off the pitch after 35 minutes because of an assault.
He is suspended for eight games. When he was able to play again, he refused to participate due to an alleged injury 30 minutes before the bus departure and was also fined DM 5,000 by Werder.
It no longer makes sense, the contract is canceled, it returns to England.
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Assauer added the story to Weber for a long time: “I can’t tell the man the evening before the game that the next day it will be in the newspaper that the team will mutiny against him. For him, a world has collapsed. The dismissal was a logical one Episode of it. “
In retrospect, he describes him as “perhaps crucial for us this season”. A season in which five Liberos will be tried after Watson and two coaches after Weber.
It is screwed up, even if it seems to be a typical Werder year after the first round (12th place).
But they already have the most goals conceded, even though Dieter Burdenski, Sepp Maier’s successor, is in the national team.
In the new year all dams break. Werder started with four defeats in 1980, after the second, a legendary 4: 6 in the home game against competitor 1860 Munich, Weber had to leave.
Assauer takes over as coach at Werder
In the video analysis of this game, his last in office, Weber “even has to laugh himself. There is no other way to endure it.”
As always since the end of his career, honorary captain Horst-Dieter Höttges, who kept his word until his retirement in 1978, sits in the stands with that game: “As long as I play, Werder will not relegate.”
Now he no longer plays, now he suffers from the outside and complains. “If you don’t risk scratching the floor, you can’t expect to win.” Permanent critic Höttges receives a ban on the cabin.
The coach, however, becomes a pawn sacrifice, even though he was “a good guy” (Röber). Manager Assauer takes over and starts with a 0: 5 in Dortmund.
The Werder shooting gallery is now open almost every week, and that doesn’t change even under old master Fritz Langner (68 at the time), who is with Werder for the third time. But he has the coaching license, Assauer is missing.
“Rudi did the work anyway,” recalls Röber. The wiry midfielder is one of the few winners of the season, despite relegation he makes it to Bayern in the summer.
“I had my best time there and would never have left if Werder had stayed in it,” he says, simply because of the family climate. “The people were and are all so friendly and kind.”
SV Werder and the relegation whirlpool
Priceless for club life, fatal for the relegation battle. Werder gets down in the elevator, the opponents really enjoy it.
“I have never seen such bad defensive behavior,” said DFB observer Berti Vogts after a 1-4 in Duisburg. Backing Burdenski also wavered, he even gambled away his EM ticket during the second half of the season.
In the end there were an incredible 93 goals, 53 of them in the second half of the season. The low point is a 0: 7 at Bayern, away they only win one game.
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Nevertheless, hope dies last. Assauer puts the chances of 30:70 after the 31st matchday, a 2: 4 against Kaiserslautern. You are now seventeenth, the saving bank two meters away (then a victory).
Röber and Möhlmann announce that they will walk from Bochum to Bremen after the last game if they can still do it.
Then comes the 32nd game day, the game at Eintracht Frankfurt. The Hessians are in the UEFA Cup final, the Bundesliga runs just alongside.
Werder seems to take the chance and leads 2-1 after an hour. Then Eintracht coach Friedel Rausch takes on two amateurs who make their debut. They are called Peukert and Künast and have their biggest day.
Both score a goal, the last one falls after a blatant mistake by Burdenski. Assauer scolds: “He switched from world class to district class within a few minutes,” he criticizes his keeper publicly.
Now the plans for the 2nd league, for three million DM Werder players want to sell to descend without debts, are also public. Because there would certainly be new ones in the lower house.
Assauer is the bogeyman in Bremen, but he has nothing to reproach. “In retrospect, I would make every decision with the current level of knowledge at the same time. I’m not throwing out because I have a wide hump.” He hopes that the last home game against Cologne will be “a good game”, “because my team is kneeling down again.”
Woodcock shoots Werder in the 2nd division
It is the last mistake of the season. In front of only 17,000 spectators in the Weser Stadium, Werder lost 0: 5 to 1. FC Köln on May 25, 1980, the millionaire Tony Woodcock hits four times and sets the Bremen coffin nails.
The descent is perfect, which has begun for Röber. “At some point you just miss the class. Fighting against relegation again and again – then it is just that time.” Just like recently at HSV, which Werder replaced as Dino.
A few tears flow after the final whistle, but tabula rasa is not made.
Assauer remains in office, almost all top performers remain, even Burdenski, and President Dr. Franz Böhmert promises: “We’ll be back. That’s for sure!”
The Rehhagel era follows the descent
And how they come back. 1981 begins the Rehhagel era, which fills the showcases of the club and gives Werder Bremen a new image.
Would that have been possible without relegation? This is hypothetical and if it is, it is not a panacea. All you need to do is take a look at the second division table, in the basement of which relegated Hannover and Nuremberg are.
Jürgen Röber says what many football fans think: “I do not hope that it will happen again, Werder belongs in the Bundesliga.”