By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Friedl comments on Keïta suspension and Werder's place in relegation race

SV Werder Bremen squad captain Marco Friedl offered up his thoughts on the suspension of Guinean international Naby Keïta when speaking to Kicker Magazine's Tim Lüddecke on Thursday afternoon. 

Friedl also commented on his team's sudden drag-down into the league's relegation fight. Already relegated once with his current club, Friedl remained calm about the prospect of going down again. 

After striker Marvin Ducksch got a chance to comment on the matter of Naby Keïta's (then unconfirmed) season-long suspension on Monday, SV Werder Bremen skipper Marco Friedl registered his thoughts with another journalist working with Germany's preeminent footballing publication.The young Austrian squad captain showed no hesitation in calling out Keïta's unprofessional behavior over the weekend.

"That was something else from Naby," Friedl told Kicker Magazine's Tim Lüddecke, "He not only let us players down, but also the club. Ordinarily, as a player, one seeks to protect one's teammates. In this case it doesn't work." 

"Particularly in light of our current situation over the last five games," Friedl continued, "One must put ego and individual interests aside. It's about making the team work. To let the team down like that wasn't right. That's why I agree with the decision." 

Friedl did note that the team would be happy to welcome Keïta "back with open arms" over the summer. The Guinean international still has a contract valid through 2026. All of the form and disciplinary issues notwithstanding, the 29-year-old is still regarded to be an exceptional talent.

When it came time to comment on Bremen's current place in the relegation race, Friedl was as nonchalant about the prospect of the Hanseaten going down as most German football watchers. Bremen have taken just two points from their last seven league fixtures. They are in 12th place on 31 points.

Despite the fact that it looks highly unlikely that they will halt the slide against surging Stuttgart on Sunday, Friedl remained convinced that his team could garner the requisite 35 points needed to secure survival. After Stuttgart, Bremen face Ausgbsurg, Gladbach, Leipzig, and Bochum. 

"We shouldn't panic," Friedl said, "We know the situation we're in and there situation will be very different after a win. I don't think we'll [get dragged into the relegation fight] and I don't hope so either." 

Friedl was one the infamous Florian Kohfeldt side that was relegated from the top-flight on precisely the same points total as Bremen have now at the end of the 2020/21 campaign. That team - which also made the DFB Pokal semi-finals had 30 points through 25 match-days.

They would garner just one point from their final nine games.

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