+++ The World Champions are coming: Florian Kainz has a brilliant climax to the season in front of him. The SV Werder full back will take on Germany with the Austrian national team. The 2014 World Champions contest a World Cup warm-up friendly on Saturday (02.06.) against their neighbour in Klagenfurt before the group stages begin. While Jaochim Löw’s German squad have been toiling away at a training camp in Eppan (South Tyrol), Austria overcame World Cup hosts Russia 1-0 on Wednesday. “We adapted very well and were absolutely intent on winning. Now we focus upon Germany”, explained Kainz before his flight to Klagenfurt. Former Werder player and fellow Austria teammate, Sebastian Prödl gave his own opinion about the task ahead. “We need to push ourselves to the limit, especially in such an hot-blooded duel. It will definitely be the most difficult test we’ve faced for years”, said the central defender. +++
+++ No time for mourning: Fellow countryman Marco Friedl was in action with the Austria U21 team. On Thursday, the Werder youngster played 91 minutes of the friendly against Czech Republic, before being subbed off shortly prior to the final whistle. Austria lost the match in Zell am See 3-0, however the ÖFB junior doesn’t have much time to mourn the defeat, with a second friendly against the Czech Republic coming up on Sunday (03.06.) at 17:00 CEST. So the Austria U21s will have the chance to settle the score. +++
+++ One of the best: Who was the best goalkeeper of the 2017/18 season? No question from a Green-White point of view: Jiri Pavlenka. The Werder no.1 displayed some sublime performances last season and frequently astounded fans with his jaw-dropping saves. He played all 34 games, kept eight clean sheets and was the only Werder player not to miss a single Bundesliga minute. His sensational performances were also acknowledged by the other clubs. In this year’s summer Kicker survey for Goalkeeper of the Season, with 248 Bundesliga players from all 18 clubs taking part, the Czech Republic stopper came in second place with 26.1% of the vote, narrowly missing out on first to FC Bayern’s Sven Ulreich (26.9%). +++
+++ One of the top managers: Florain Kohfeldt has also made a name for himself in his first Bundesliga season as head coach of SV Werder. He took over when the Green-Whites were on five points after nine games and lying in 16th in the table. However, the Werder coach pulled the team together and turned their season around. After 34 games the boys from Bremen sat comfortably in eleventh position with 42 points in the bank. In the Kicker survey, the head coach bagged another single-digit position with seventh place and 5.5% of the vote.
+++ Early summer holiday: Theodor Gebre Selassie saw the back of the long and draining season quicker than most. The right back had to leave his international tour with the Czech Republic due to a minor knee injury. The team medical and training staff decided that rest and relaxation was a better option for the 31-year-old than training on and playing in the friendly against Australia. Gebre Selassie should have fully recovered by the time training restarts on 02.07. +++
+++ How much longer? The opening game of the Bundesliga season 2017/18 takes place in exactly 84 days. The first matchday will be between 24.08. and 26.08. Due to the World Cup in Russia, this year’s summer break is particularly long. However, look alive Werder fans: on Friday 29.06. the German Football League (DFL) will release the new season’s fixture calendar. Then we will know who, when and where the Green-Whites will contest their first game. +++