Weekend Focus: High-pressure on Josh Sargent as Werder Bremen faces historic relegation

Werder Bremen, the Bundesliga team that has spent the most seasons of any club in Germany's top tier, could go down on Saturday. Its leading scorer -- 5 goals, 2 assists -- is the 21-year-old American Josh Sargent. The Bundesliga official site wrote: "Bremen top scorer Sargent could certainly do with a pick-me-up: the U.S. international hasn't scored in his eight appearances across the  [10-game winless streak with 8 losses] dip."

Saturday, May 22: Werder Bremen-Monchengladbach 9:20 am. ET (ESPN+)

There are three possibilities for Werder Bremen after Saturday's game:
1. A 15th place finish that keeps it in the top tier.
2. A 16th-place finish that sends it to a relegation/promotion playoff with the second division's third-place finisher (home and away, May 26/29 vs. VfL Bochum, Holstein Kiel or SpVgg Greuther Fürth).
3. A 17th-place finish that automatically relegates Werder Bremen, which can only happen if it loses and FC Köln beats Schalke.

Last season, during which Sargent had four goals and four assists, Werder Bremen needed a win on the final day to secure a 40th straight Bundesliga season and extend its record 57th overall in the 58-year-old league. This season, its dismal late run resulted in the firing of Coach Florian Kohfeld, who was replaced by Thomas Schaaf, a legendary Bremen star whose last coaching stint ended in 2016 with Hannover 96, for the final game.

Werder Bremen, whose license for next season was approved under the condition of paying off massive debts by September, is fighting to fend off bankruptcy. Second division status would greatly diminish its attractiveness to investors and the sale of top players may not bring sufficient income to pay of debts, reports RTL.de, because the most likely to interest other clubs -- Milot Rashica, Ludwig Augustinsson and Sargent -- have underwhelmed this season.

For his part, Sargent's stock should still be high considering his young age and the glaring lack of service he receives for scoring chances. Whether or not Sargent stays in Bremen for a fourth season, he has a chance to be the hero on Saturday.

The scenarios:
Werder Bremen beats Borussia Moenchengladbach
Bremen stays in the top flight if Arminia Bielefeld loses or ties at VfB Stuttgart.
Bremen enters the playoff if Arminia Bielefeld wins.
Note: Gladbach with a win, or even a tie, could qualify for the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League if other results go Gladbach's way.

Werder Bremen ties Borussia Moenchengladbach
Bremen stays in the top flight if FC Köln ties or loses at Schalke and Arminia Bielefeld loses. 
Bremen is relegated if FC Köln beats Schalke.
Bremen gets the playoff spot if Arminia Bielefeld ties and if FC Köln ties or loses.
Note: Schalke is already relegated.

Werder Bremen losses to Borussia Moenchengladbach
If FC Köln wins, Bremen is relegated.
If FC Köln ties, Bremen gets the playoff spot.

(These scenarios consider Werder Bremen goal-difference superiority ahead of Saturday at -19 compared to Arminia Bielefeld (-28) and FC Köln (-27).

2 comments about "Weekend Focus: High-pressure on Josh Sargent as Werder Bremen faces historic relegation".
  1. Wooden Ships, May 22, 2021 at 11:58 a.m.

    Sargent must get out. 

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, May 23, 2021 at 6:15 a.m.

    Agree. Striker on a bottom dweller club is not the best development experience.

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