In the 89th minute of the game, Florian Kohfeldt made a decision which meant everyone all around the ground had goosebumps. After a quick glance to his captain, the head coach brought Zlatko Junuzovic off and gave the 30-year-old a fitting setting for his farewell. The 41,000 people inside the sold-out Weserstadion rose to applaud and cheer off their “Zladdi”. “It was really important to me that we gave Zlatko an appropriate send-off today and to see him singing with the East Stand was brilliant. I think that it was a great farewell,” the 35-year-old said.
“There were moments today that I will never forget. Simply sensational,” Junuzovic said beaming. “I can only thank everyone for the amazing farewell and I am so thankful for the time that I have spent here. The six-and-a-half years haven’t always been easy. But it’s amazing how the fans still stick by us and push us on in the bad times. They have played a huge part in making sure we have remained in the Bundesliga in recent years“, the captain said. And he continued, “I will come back to Bremen now and again and I will always be a Werder fan.”
In his official farewell shortly before kick-off, he was accompanied by his family as he was presented with gifts from the Werder board. He had his son Clemens in his arms. “He probably won’t remember this but he knows exactly where he is and he’s had a lot of fun. He’s had a constant smile on his face and he didn’t want to leave the pitch,” Junuzovic said and he went on to spend the rest of the evening with his teammates.
“I will reminisce about these moments later on and process it all. It is hard to put it all into words at the moment. But you can’t plan for such moments, you just hope that they happen. It is the best way that I could imagine going, with a smile on my face. It was also just amazing mixing with the fans. I just wanted to thank the fans for the brilliant years I have had here and we sang a song or two together. The atmosphere was just phenomenal.”
The captain will miss Werder just as Werder will miss their captain. “Before kick-off, I had a small lump in my throat and I was happy when it all got underway,” Florian Kohfeldt said. “We have experienced and come through a lot together, Zlatko has given his all for the club over the last six-and-a-half years and has been proud to put on the Werder Bremen shirt. And he remained proud and fully committed even when things took a turn for the worse. He could’ve made decisions which would’ve made it much easier for him. But he stuck by the club and that deserves immeasurable respect. He will be missed as a player and as a person and although I understand the reasons for his decision, his departure, for me too personally, is a big shame,” the Green-Whites' boss said.