June 8, 2020 / 8:37 AM / in a month

Time running out for Bremen's Bundesliga survival bid

BREMEN, Germany (Reuters) - Werder Bremen have spent only one season outside the Bundesliga since it was launched in 1963 and while their run of 13 home matches without a win has left them deep in relegation trouble club officials are not throwing in the towel.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt - Weser-Stadion, Bremen, Germany - June 3, 2020. Frank Baumann Werder Bremen Sport Director wearing a protective face mask before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Stuart Franklin/Pool via REUTERS DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video

Werder, who have played more Bundesliga games (1,896) than any other team, are second from bottom with 25 points from 30 games, three points behind Fortuna Duesseldorf in the promotion-relegation playoff berth.

They are also six points away from safety — Mainz in 15th place.

Werder went down 1-0 at home to VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday and their next home game does not offer much hope — against Bayern Munich on June 16 where the leaders could secure the title.

But before that Bremen travel to bottom side Paderborn on Saturday and coach Florian Kohfeldt knows the turnaround must start there.

“We have four games to achieve the realistic goal of avoiding relegation,” said the 37-year-old.

“What gives us courage — as strange as it may sound — is the ... table. We are not seven or eight points behind, but only three. And we still have four games, so you can catch up three points.”

Frank Baumann, the clubs’ sporting director, has not lost faith in his young coach.

“I think our chances are still alive, but the bottom line is that only the results count,” he added. “We’ll give everything and fight until the last game.”

Bremen won the last of their four championships in 2004 and narrowly missed out on a Europa League place last season.

Kohfeldt said he expected Milot Rashica to return from an ankle injury, and Niclas Feullkrug is also set to return next week for the first time since September.

The 27-year-old made a good start to the season with two goals and one assist in the first four games before suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

“It’s the strikers who we are looking to, to make the difference,” added the coach.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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