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Sargent, Werder Bremen hold off Heidenheim to stay in Bundesliga

Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen will remain in the German Bundesliga for another season.

Florian Kohfeldt’s side fought off 2. Bundesliga side FC Heidenheim 2-2 in Monday’s second leg, clinching their survival for another season on the away goal tiebreaker. After a scoreless draw in Bremen last week, an own goal from Heidenheim defender Norman Theuerkauf partnered with Ludwig Austinsson’s goal in stoppage time ensured a massive result for the club.

U.S. Men’s National Team striker Josh Sargent got the start for Bremen and played a role in the own goal. After picking up a pass from Milot Rashica, Sargent went to turn and shoot. Theuerkauf tried to kick the ball away, but instead saw his clearance fly into the top corner of his own goal.

Bremen did well to defend its lead in the opening half, despite allowing Heidenheim more possession than expected. The Bundesliga side opened things up in the second-half with Heidenheim keeper Kevin Muller being tested frequently.

Sargent had a golden chance to ice the victory, but Muller denied the 19-year-old on a one-on-one situation.

Heidenheim pulled a goal back in the 85th minute after Tobias Mohr’s shot rattled off the crossbar and deflected in off striker Tim Kleindienst. Augustinsson’s finish in the 94th minute though iced the result for Bremen who took advantage of Heidenheim’s lack of defenders on a counter-attack.

Kleindienst’s stoppage time penalty kick was the final kick of the match, as Bremen ran away winners on the tiebreaker rule.

Not only did Sargent have good looks offensively to score, but he also won two fouls and showed better use of the ball after the halftime break. He was substituted off in the 88th minute as Bremen held on to fight for another season in Germany’s top-flight.

Sargent finished the season with four goals and five assists in 34 combined appearances this season for Bremen, scoring all four in Bundesliga play. Now with league survival clinched, Kohfeldt and his staff can breathe a sigh of relief before preparing for a more successful run in 2020-21′.


  1. What is Bremen going to do this summer, upgrade at striker or stick with Josh? The roster is just barely Bundesliga level, and there’s no reason to think that next year won’t be just like this year unless they spend to bring in better players. Josh is young and might get better, so they may choose to keep running Josh out there and focus on other positions to improve. But he’s going to have to do better than 4 goals in 34 appearances.

    I’ll add that he’s a really likable player. Works really hard, takes a beating, draws fouls, wins some headers, checks back and lays the ball off nicely. But his failure to put away that chance in about the 60th minute is telling; he’s just not a Bundesliga level finisher yet. It would be nice to see him really improve next year.

  2. Should of gotten an assist for the own goal, teed it up and the defender buried it in the ol’ onion bag as Tommy Smyth would say.

  3. With his limited chances to score this season he needs to be more efficient when he gets those opportunities and finish. I like his game but I think his team hampered his stats. Still a bright future

    • using SmarterScout as a reference backs up this claim. Sargent’s ‘shooting’ rating is near the bottom of the Bundisliga strikers. His shooting rating is 8 on a scale of 1-99 adjusted for Bundisliga strikers. His attacking ratings in general are all particularly low compared to his peers.
      It also shows a player that works very hard though. His duels, ball recovery and disruption ratings are all very good.
      As a whole I think they show a young guy who is working very hard for the team, but isn’t quite at the Bundisliga level yet. His finishing, ball retention and general attacking output need improvement. Really hoping to see his comfort level with the speed of the game improve so he can make a leap forward next season.

      Just as a note I’d recommend the free version of SmarterScout to anyone. You get 10 searches a day to get a good rounded picture of anyone you’re interested in.

  4. Josh showed some excellent link-up play which put his teammates in good positions, if not for the keeper making some fantastic saves Bremen would have likely had a couple more goals.
    I still think that once he’s partnered with players like Pulisic, Reyna & the rest of the US Players he’ll have a better opportunity to show his abilities and worth. If he can provide hold-up and link-up with these guys he’ll have some excellent stats (assists)….it’s yet to be seen if he’ll be able to be clinical himself.

  5. I thought Sargent played well, especially in the second half. A great save denied him, but he also could have had a couple of assists with some nice layoffs to other players, but they either missed or keeper saved them. I think the fact the team chose him to start its most important game today is a great sign for him, and with the team staying up next year, even better.

  6. I thought Sargent played fairly well. Bremen is a very frustrating team to watch because their inconsistency. Someone will make a good pass and then the recipient will make a bad pass or not control the ball. They are very sloppy and give the ball away cheaply much too often. Raschica, an experienced player, was often guilty of this and his errors killed off a number of attacks. If anything, Sargent made fewer mistakes than his teammates.

  7. I think it’s fair to say Bremen were the better team, but they certainly weren’t “good”. Next year is going to be déjà vu for them in the Bundesliga unless they strengthen considerably in the offseason. Sargent is industrious and goes in search of the action, but it’s hard to tell at this point whether he has the instinct to be a consistent and effective striker at the highest level. Hopefully, with experience and better service, the goals will come.


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