To make matters more, experienced defender Ömer Toprak was injured in the 2-0 quarterfinal loss at Eintracht Frankfurt and will miss Bremen’s crucial visit to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Bremen is eight points from safety, and four from a relegation playoff place.
“I’ll keep fighting and know that my team will also keep fighting,“ Kohfeldt said. “We’re not victims. If we allowed ourselves be talked into that, that would be our biggest mistake. We’ll turn it around and bring it to a successful conclusion in the end.”
Kohfeldt has had to endure one setback after another and was particularly annoyed about a VAR decision that gave Frankfurt a penalty for a previously unnoticed handball by Ludwig Augustinsson in first-half injury time.
“None of the spectators or players saw anything. Then the forensic search begins,” Kohfeldt said. “I’m not one to always blame referees. But in my opinion the video assistant should only intervene when there’s a clear wrong call. I didn’t see that.”
Counterpart Adi Hütter acknowledged Frankfurt had been fortunate. “That was a lucky decision for us and the key moment in the game,” Hütter said. Toprak was brought to a local hospital with a suspected fibula break, though the injury is not as serious as initially feared.
“Luckily nothing is broken,” Kohfeldt said Thursday. Bremen has been sticking with Kohfeldt because of a belief that the 37-year-old coach can turn the team around. He has praised his players’ efforts, even when results are not going their way.
Saturday’s visit to Hertha is shaping up to be a decisive game. Hertha has had its own troubles recently after Jürgen Klinsmann’s shock resignation as coach and has only won one of its last seven league games.
With interim coach Alexander Nouri at the helm, Hertha managed to come from three goals down to draw 3-3 at Fortuna Düsseldorf last weekend, but the team is far from settled and conceded five goals at home against Cologne the previous weekend.
A win for Bremen on Saturday would drag Hertha back into the relegation scrap. There are currently 10 points between the teams. “It’s an extremely important game for us,” Bremen managing director Frank Baumann said. “The team’s character is in order, they’ve taken the situation on. I’m sure we’ll turn it around. But we don’t have much more time. That’s why it’s so important that we start on Saturday.”
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