Werder adapt to life without Ozil
Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf expects the team he already has in place to cover for the loss of star playmaker Mesut Ozil.
The Germany international has left the club for Real Madrid, just 12 months after the Weserstadion side had to adapt to life without another key player in Diego, who departed for Juventus.
Werder are in action tonight, in their first big test of the season against Sampdoria in a UEFA Champions League qualifier, leaving Schaaf no time to replace Ozil with a new signing. However, he is sure the rest of the team can make up for the 21-year-old's absence
"We know that we are not any stronger and that we have lost his qualities, but from my experience from recent years, when somebody has left the team then the others get stronger and they give more and do more," he said.
Werder could be drawn against Real. The German club's director of sport Klaus Allofs believes Jose Mourinho's team will be stronger for the addition of Ozil.
"Given the way he plays football, he would do well in any league in the world," he said. "Yes, he is still young and a bit reserved, and he will have to learn a new language and that will not make it easy to start with. But we don't have any doubts that he will make it there."
Allofs rules out Diego return
Now the attention in Bremen will turn to who, if anybody, will be signed to replace Ozil. Allofs has already ruled out bringing Diego back to the club, even though the Brazilian is on the market again and attracting interest from Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg.
"We have got to remember why he left a year ago," explained Allofs. "Sure, he was happy here, but he was given the chance to play at Juve and earn far more money, and they are wages that we cannot pay.
"We cannot buy a player back like him, no matter how attractive it sounds. Financially, it is impossible."