Werder Bremen’s problem child Naby Keita: Last hope for the Africa Cup

Werder Bremen Werder’s problem child Keita

Last hope Africa Cup

As of: 1:43 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

So far, midfielder Naby Keita has been missing from his club for more than 100 days since the summer

Source: picture alliance/Eibner-Pressefoto/Marcel von Fehrn

Werder Bremen midfielder Naby Keita can look back on a used half-year on the Weser due to his injuries. The star arrival couldn’t take off at all. His Kub is now hoping for a positive impact from the Africa Cup.

Many Bundesliga clubs view their players’ participation in the Africa Cup with disapproval or concern – but Werder Bremen is hoping for a win-win situation in the case of Naby Keita. Keita should celebrate success as captain of his home country Guinea, gain match practice and return to his old form. At least that’s his Kub’s hope. “There is a certain chance there,” said coach Ole Werner before the winter break in the Bundesliga.

Werder is hoping to give Keita a boost through the tournament in the Ivory Coast country that starts on January 13th, where Guinea will play in the group stage against Gambia, Cameroon and defending champions Senegal. The club hopes that Keita gets there “safe and sound,” as Werner confirmed. According to the coach, he has a completely different role there because of his appearance as captain. He hopes that Keita “gets some match practice” and “just gets into a good mental state.”

Keita, who was celebrated as a top transfer, made a sensational move from top English club FC Liverpool to the Weser in the summer – and was received euphorically. However, the 28-year-old developed into a problem child. His list of injuries grew longer and longer during the first half of the season: adductors, muscle, as well as a flu-like infection and stomach problems. The midfielder has been missing for more than 100 days so far.

The sober conclusion from Werder coach Werner

In three Bundesliga appearances he played almost 80 minutes for Bremen, who finished the Bundesliga half-year in 13th place in the table. ended. At least Keita’s brief appearance in the disastrous 2:4 in Darmstadt in October was one of the few bright spots in the game. A few days later, during his starting eleven debut against Hoffenheim, he was injured again.

“He’s healthy again as far as injuries go, but he’s just not really fit. And of course that’s what’s frustrating primarily for him, but of course also for us,” said Werner. The critics of the deal had predicted a similar outcome. During his time at Liverpool under German coach Jürgen Klopp, Keita never really got off to a good start. There, too, he was repeatedly slowed down by moderate injuries and injuries. In 2018 he moved from RB Leipzig to England for around 60 million euros.

The sporting leadership around managing director Frank Baumann and professional football director Clemens Fritz had priced in the injury history. However, the people of Bremen were not aware that the downtime would be so drastic. “Of course we would all have wanted it to be completely different,” said coach Werner. The Werder players were aware that “this could be a risk”.

On top of that, the multimedia portal “Deichstube” reported on unpunctuality and ducking at sponsor events that were not particularly popular. Fritz confirmed at the time that Keita had not yet received any sanctions for being unpunctual.

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Nevertheless, Fritz and Werner have recently been optimistic. “The time hasn’t come for me to throw in the towel yet,” said the coach. Werner and the Bremen team tried to support him as best as possible in discussions.

Teammate and captain Marco Friedl was also confident. “First and foremost, I hope that he stays healthy at the Africa Cup,” said the Austrian and hoped that Keita will reach the necessary fitness level there and then “can really get started.”

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