By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bremen lose Pieper to ankle surgery, Agu once again a "viable alternative"

Hanseatic city-state club SV Werder Bremen confirmed the loss of one defender and the long-awaited return of another on Wednesday. 
Former German youth international Amos Pieper of SV Werder Bremen is done for the calendar year after an ankle injury suffered in training necessitated surgery. This was confirmed by the 25-year-old's Bundesliga club on Wednesday. Pieper started the initial six league fixtures of his current campaign. The former Bielefeld prospect then lost his starting place in head-coach Ole Werner's back-three and has not played a single minute of action since.

"That's really bitter for Amos," Werner remarked at his Thursday pre-match presser, "He will be operated on soon and we hope that he can start the rehabilitation process as soon as possible. We will give him full support on his way back, but we won't be able to plan with him again until next year."

Injury problems have forced Werner to play several players out of position. Danish attacking midfielder Jens Stage has been filling in for veteran Christian Groß at the sweeper position. Werner also commented on Groß' situation at the presser, explaining that the 34-year-old still had some way to go before he could attain full match fitness.

There was some good news to report from the Bremen camp on Thursday. Fullback Felix Agu - who played 34 minutes as a sub in last weekend's loss to Bayer 04 Leverkusen - is (according to club licensing director Clemens Fritz) a "viable alternative" to serve as a wingback "on either flank". A patella injury sidelined Pieper's one-time U21 teammate for the entirety of the 2021/22 season.

Agu suffered several setbacks on his way back from the serious injury. He made just three short substitute appearances for Bremen last year. The last time the Osnabrück native played more than 30 Bundesliga minutes was in April of 2021. Fritz noted that Agu was a candidate to play behind of for left wingbacks Anthony Jung/Olivier Deman, as well as reported want-away right wingback Mitchell Weiser.

"You can tell that Felix is getting better and better physically," Fritz noted, "He worked really hard on his rehabilitation, feels stable at the moment, and its great that he's back. He can work where we need him to and is definitely an alternative now."

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