Werder Bremen – over a hundred years of eventful club history
Werder Bremen is one of the most successful teams in German football thanks to its many triumphs on the domestic and European stage. The 'green and whites', so called because of the club's colours, occupy second place in the all-time Bundesliga table, behind record title holders Bayern Munich and ahead of north German rivals Hamburg. Werder Bremen have been German champions four times, have won the German cup six times and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup once, and finished runners up in the 2009 UEFA Cup Final. The club's greatest triumph was the double-winning season of 2004 when they captured the Bundesliga title and German cup. Under manager Thomas Schaaf, Werder Bremen went on to become regulars in the Champions League – appearing six times in seven years in Europe's premier club competition. The green and whites last won a major trophy in 2009 when they lifted the German cup.
On 4 February 1899 a group of Bremen students formed an association football team called FV Werder Bremen. Just four years later the newly founded club celebrated a hat-trick of titles, as Werder Bremen teams were crowned champions in all three Bremen divisions. After this, matches featuring Werder Bremen were the subject of such great public interest that they became the first team in Bremen able to charge spectators to watch games. In 1920 the club, which these days has more than 40,000 members all over the world, changed its name to Sportverein Werder Bremen - Werder Bremen Sports Club. Departments were formed for athletics, chess, tennis and even baseball and cricket, but football has always remained the focus. SV Werder Bremen were a founder member of the Bundesliga in 1963/64 and have only been relegated once. The club's most successful period came in the late 1980s / early 90s under manager Otto Rehhagel, who steered the fortunes of the team for 14 years. Many great players have proudly worn the famous shirt with the diamond W logo. And although year after year hundreds and thousands of fans flock to the stadium to cheer on their team, or follow on TV from all over the world, Werder Bremen still feels like a family club.
Werder Bremen's spiritual home is the Weser Stadium, which stands on the banks of the Weser river close to the city's old quarter. The first ground with stands for spectators was erected on this site in the Pauliner marshes as early as 1909; it was rebuilt in 1926 as the ATSB-Kampfbahn, a venue not only for football games but also for political rallies. After the Second World War the stadium was renamed the Weser-Stadion, and since that time it has modernised and extended several times. It was here, at Werder Bremen's home ground, that Timo Konietzka scored the very first Bundesliga goal on the opening day of the 1963/64 season. Characterised by its distinctive floodlight masts, the Weser Stadium today has a capacity of 42,100 and also houses the club's offices, the fan shop and ticket centre, accommodation for youth players and an athletics hall.