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- Werder Bremen
Address: Franz-Böhmert-Straße 1c, 28205 Bremen Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 1805 - 937337
Fax: +49 (0) 421 - 493555
Official URL: http://www.werder.de
Chairman: Klaus-Dieter Fischer
Club Director: Klaus Allofs
Werder Bremen have established themselves as one of the power houses of German and international football in recent years. From their Cup Winners Cup success in 1992 they have constantly improved to become a perennial challenger at the top of the Bundesliga. With the exception of 1980/81 they have played in the Bundesliga every year since it’s inception in 1963.
The club was founded in 1899 as FV Werder by a group of sixteen high school students who had won a prize of sports equipment to set them on their way. They took their name from the rarely used regional German word for ‘river island’, describing the riverside field they first played football on.
The site is where the current Weser Stadion now stands. The club enjoyed some early success, fielding competitive sides and winning a number of local championships. They were the first club to charge spectators a fee to attend their games, and to fence in their playing field. Steady growth after World War I led the club to adopt other sports and, in 1920, change their name to the current SV Werder Bremen.
Football remained their primary interest, so much so that in 1922, they became the first German club to hire a professional coach- Hungarian Franz Konya. Werder remained competitive throughout the 1930's and 1940's in the country's Oberligen and Gauligen, the highest levels of play at the time.
Like other organizations throughout Germany, the club was disbanded on the order of the occupying Allied forces after World War II. They re-constituted themselves in late 1945 as Gymnastics and Sport Club Werder of 1945, which was quickly changed to Sport Club Green White of 1899.
They were able to reclaim the name SV Werder in early 1946. At the time, professionals were not permitted to play in the German game, so it was normal for football players to take on other jobs, often with the club's local patron. In the case of Werder, a number of the players worked at the nearby Brinkmann tobacco factory, and so the side took on the nickname Texas 11 after one of the company's popular cigarette brands.
Between the end of the war and the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963 the club continued to do well, being recognized as the number two team in the north behind Hamburger SV. In 1961 they managed their first German Cup win with a 2-0 victory over Kaiserslautern.
Bundesliga ups and downs
Their performances were good enough to earn them a place as a founding member of the Bundesliga in 1963, and in the league's second season Werder won the league. They earned a second-place finish in the 1967/68, but then languished in the bottom half of the table for a dozen years.
An attempt to improve their fortunes by signing high-priced talent earned the side the new, derisive nickname of the Millionaires. The club narrowly failed to sign Günter Netzer due the fact the player wanted to take control of the club’s newspaper.
The new policy however turned out to be an expensive failure. The club dropped out of the Bundesliga for the first and only time, being relegated to the 2.Bundesliga-Nord for the 1980/81 season after a 17th place finish.
King Otto to the rescue
Werder recovered themselves under the direction of newly hired coach Otto Rehhagel, who led the side to a string of successes: Bundesliga runners-up in 1983, 1985 and 1986, champions in 1988; appearances in the final of the German Cup in 1989 and 1990 with a win there in 1991; followed by victory in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1992.
In 1993, the club earned its third Bundesliga title and, in the following year, it’s third German Cup. Rehhagel left the club in June 1995 after this impressive run for a short-lived spell as coach of rivals Bayern Munich.
The impact of Rehhagel's departure was felt immediately, and a succession of coaches (Aad de Mos, Dixie Dörner, Wolfgang Sidka and Felix Magath) led the club into a critical position.
In May 1999 former defender and amateur coach Thomas Schaaf took over the team and stopping a slide toward relegation and leading the team to a German Cup victory only weeks later. In the following seasons the team's performance stabilized as they regularly finished in the upper half of the table.
In 2004, they managed to take both the Bundesliga championship and the German Cup – one of only four German sides to make the Double. Their performance qualified them for 2004/05 Champions League play and they advanced to the Round of 16 before a dismal exit on a 10-2 aggregate to French side Lyon.
In 2005, Werder again qualified for Champions League, this time through a third place Bundesliga result following a difficult injury-prone season. They once more advanced to the Round of 16, this time being put out by Italian club Juventus on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate.
In the 2006 German Cup the club suffered a controversial 1-3 quarter-final loss to FC St. Pauli, but later went on to capture its first Ligapokal trophy with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the August 5 final played in Leipzig. In recent seasons, Werder Bremen have played attractive football, scoring nearly 80 goals in 34 games in the 2005/06 season. At the start of the 2007/08 season, they recorded an 8-1 home victory over Bielefeld.
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