Proud Stand-In: Niklas Stark Takes on Captain Role at SV Werder Bremen

In the absence of captain Marco Friedl, who was out injured, Niklas Stark took over the position of deputy, which was still vacant at SV Werder Bremen – and was “really” proud of it.

Led Werder onto the field as captain against Cologne: Niklas Stark. IMAGO/Nordphoto

Niklas Stark himself didn’t know exactly who was responsible for it: “Probably Bobo,” said the SV Werder Bremen defender – meaning kit manager Boban Aleric, who is apparently responsible for allocating the captain’s armband in the team locker room. “She was in my seat,” said Stark, in any case, as he himself was informed that he would at least formally lead his team in the 2-1 home win against 1. FC Köln.

Head coach Ole Werner was probably responsible for awarding the captain’s armband, but he still doesn’t make a big deal about the appointment of the Bremen co-captain: “It really doesn’t matter to us. We have a group of leading players.” Most recently, head of professional football Clemens Fritz had already indicated that they wanted to “perhaps leave the unclear situation open for now”.

“Not so serious”: Werner’s hope with Friedl

The fact that the armband became an issue at all was mainly due to the fact that the actual captain, Marco Friedl, was not available due to “problems with his rib muscles”. When the Austrian was substituted at half-time for performance reasons in the previous 4-2 defeat in Heidenheim, Christian Groß took over the armband. But this time he wasn’t in Bremen’s starting line-up. Would he otherwise have filled the captaincy again? Werner: “He didn’t play from the start, so I didn’t bother with it.”

It is questionable how long Friedl Werder could be missing; To do this, we have to wait for the examinations scheduled for Monday: “It’s an abdominal muscle story again,” explained Werner: “We don’t assume that it’s as serious as the previous times. It’s a different place.” The 25-year-old was already out due to similar injuries during the second division season and this year’s preparation.

Stark and the armband: “An honor – really, now”

On the one hand, Friedl’s representative Stark did not want to overestimate his new role: “Many people could have done that, I was the lucky one this time – but it was a team effort, everyone contributed their part.” On the other hand, his enormous appreciation for his position at Werder also became clear. “Of course it’s an honor and something very special to wear the armband for this team and the club – well, really now,” said the 28-year-old – and emphasized: “Marco is our captain. When he comes back, I have “I also have no resentment at giving up the office again.”

The Werder defender, in turn, showed less understanding for the “sometimes too negative mood” from outside, which was gradually threatening to emerge given Bremen’s promising start to the season (cup, three points from four league games) – and from which the team cannot completely free themselves . “You feel that you’re struggling a bit, that you’re sometimes negative and you think: Get back on track, be positive. That was really noticeable this week, which is why the win was such a relief.”

Time for Werder development: “You have to believe in us”

Especially due to several late transfers from the club, Stark continued to appeal for more time and patience for development at Osterdeich. First in general: “You still have to believe in us. We are in the second year after promotion, you have to keep that in mind.” And then from a personal perspective: “I know from my own experience that it’s not that easy to get into the game at the beginning,” explained the professional, who was signed a year ago – and who only became a regular player late. Now he was Werder captain for the first time.

2023-09-24 09:27:12
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