Making their mark

A look back on the 23/24 season: part II

Justin Njinmah celebrates his first Bundesliga goal.
Justin Njinmah scored his first Bundesliga goal against Mainz (photo. W.DE).
First Team
Wednesday, 12.06.2024 / 11:30

After finishing the 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign in ninth place, SV Werder Bremen narrowly missed out on a spot in Europe. However, now that the summer break has begun, the Green-Whites can focus on the positives and take a look back at everything they achieved in the season just gone. In the second part of our review of the campaign, we look at the players who scored their first SVW goals in 23/24.

Werder had plenty to celebrate as a team this season, but with no less than five players making their debuts for the club over the course of the campaign, there was no shortage of high points individually either.

Following defeats in each of their first two games of the season, victory over Mainz on Matchday 3 ensured not only a memorable day for Werder as a whole, but also for Justin Njinmah, who marked his first top-flight appearance for the club with a goal and an assist. After coming on with 15 minutes to go, the 23-year-old teed up Leonardo Bittencourt for the third goal of the game, before adding one of his own – his first in the Bundesliga – to ensure a dominant Green-White win. The young forward joined an exclusive club with his clinical cameo: 17 years earlier, a Brazilian midfielder by the name of Diego achieved a similar feat in a 4-2 triumph against Hannover 96. Despite mostly appearing as an impact substitute throughout the season, Njinmah continued to prove a menace to opposition defences, hitting the target on five further occasions over the course of the campaign.

Summer signing Olivier Deman established himself as a starter early on in his fledgling Werder career, and his maiden SVW goal managed to breathe life into an otherwise painful afternoon for the club as they faced Darmstadt. Despite Milos Veljkovic also getting on the scoresheet, the Green-Whites fell to a 4-2 loss against the newly-promoted Hessen side.

First goal in green and white

The 2023/24 season was Niklas Stark’s second in a Werder shirt. Much like his debut campaign, opportunities for the twice-capped Germany international to push forward from opening play were at a premium. From corners, however, the towering centre-back has proven to be a constant threat in the six-yard box, and so it proved on Matchday 13 as SV faced Augsburg at the wohninvest WESERSTADION. Despite getting only the faintest of touches, Stark’s glancing header from a Marvin Ducksch corner found its way into the net for the opening goal of the game and his first for the club (39’). “I put a bit of extra hairspray in today to give the ball some more spin. It worked well,” chuckled the defender after the game.


Two minutes, two touches, one goal. Julian Malatini couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to his Werder career. “It’s an incredible feeling for me,” said the Argentine after the 3-1 win over SC Freiburg. The January signing did something which very few other players have done. The debutant – a defender, by the way – came off the bench and suddenly found himself through on goal, and rounded the opposition goalkeeper before slotting into an empty net in the third minute of injury time. “I was suddenly in a position where I don’t usually find myself,” joked the Argentine soon after the game. It was a moment that Malatini isn’t going to forget in a hurry.

Backheeling his first Bundesliga goal

Matchday 24 saw another player open their Werder account, in the game against Hoffenheim. The Green-Whites were 2-0 down at half time following a brace from Maximilian Beier. The Frenchman Skelly Alvero, who was at that time still on loan from Lyon, then scored to give SVW hope. The 2.02-metre-tall midfielder flicked home a backheel to halve the deficit in the second minute of injury time. Despite piling on the pressure towards the end of the game, Werder didn’t manage to get their third away win in a row. “It’s hard to be too happy when you score at 2-0 down. It was still a good feeling though,” said Alvero after the game.

I celebrated here in the stadium as a young boy. I kept on telling myself that the goal would eventually come.
Nick Woltemade

It took 1,274 Bundesliga minutes before Bremen-born Nick Woltemade was finally able to celebrate his first goal in the division. The forward, who came through Werder’s academy, hammered the ball into the net in the 45th minute of the game against Borussia Mönchengladbach. “I celebrated here in the stadium as a young boy. I kept on telling myself that the goal would eventually come. I just had to keep going,” said Woltemade. The fact that the goal came just before the end of the season made the moment even better. This fulfilled a long-time dream for Woltemade, who is set to sign for fellow Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart.

He didn’t settle for just one goal though. The 1.98-metre-tall man headed home in the second half to put SVW ahead (65’). “I was just over the moon. I’ve waited for this moment for so long. It’s amazing that it happened twice today as well,” said Woltemade after the game. The Green-Whites went on to make sure of their Bundesliga safety on Matchday 32 despite conceding a late equaliser to the visitors.

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