Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen fought off relegation from the German Bundesliga last season, and the team’s early success in the new campaign suggests a better finish awaits for the U.S. Men’s National Team striker.
Werder Bremen heads into the international break with two wins already from its opening three matches. After an opening day loss to Hertha Berlin, Florian Kohfeldt’s side bounced back with wins over Schalke and Arminia Bielefeld to head into the break with six points.
It is the kind of start that Sargent and Bremen will be hoping can help them avoid having to scrap by at the end of the season, as they did last campaign when they had to hold off Heidenheim in the promotion/relegation playoff this summer.
“Of course we don’t want to repeat last year but at the same time, if we can get a good start with a few wins at the beginning of the season, it will get us into a good rhythm and from there hopefully the season will take off and put us in a good position,” Sargent said in an interview with Bundesliga.com.
“Towards the end of the season, obviously we had a lot of games, two games a week, so at the weekend, Wednesday, weekend, Wednesday. Of course it was different to what we’re used to, it was mentally challenging for us as well,” Sargent said. “We knew we had to fight for every single game. If you take a second off in the game, if you switch off, something bad could happen and it could ruin our chances of staying up. We all knew what we had to do, we all knew we had to fight until the end and that’s what we did.”
The 20-year-old striker heads into his third season with Bremen and is poised for a breakout campaign. Sargent made 28 league appearances for the club last season, scoring a career-high four goals and adding his first two Bundesliga assists.
Not only did Sargent end the season on a high note, he continued his development as an all-around forward for Bremen. He fought and won minutes over several veteran players and had a major say in the club staying in the top-flight. After setting new individual records last season, Sargent’s goals are simple this time around.
“Yeah I think I have put myself in a very good position right now,” Sargent said. “As long as I keep working as hard as I can then good things will happen.”
“It should be any striker’s goal to be the top goal scorer, whatever team you’re in. If you’re not shooting for the highest then there’s not really any point, that’s just how my mindset is.”
Sargent remains one of many Americans in Germany trying to make it as a professional player. Like Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie before him, Sargent headlines an intriguing group of players now in the top flight, including RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, and Bayern Munich’s Chris Richards.
Germany leads all European countries with the most USMNT players in its ranks, with some even continuing their careers in the 2. Bundesliga or 3. Liga. Sargent took a chance of his own to come from the United States to Germany and is confident more will make the move after seeing the results paid off so far.
“You can see it’s a very good place,” Sargent said. “It’s different for every player of course, every player can develop in different ways. But you can see the Bundesliga is a good pathway with all these players you just named, Reyna, Adams, Pulisic, McKennie, myself. I think it’s kind of an eye opener for a lot of people in the US, they see that we can do it over here and it’s making them more confident in themselves that they can come over and do it as well.”
Sargent scored in a 4-1 friendly win over St. Pauli on Wednesday and will next be in league action on Oct. 17th at Freiburg.