0937 GMT January 29, 2020
The man, who was plucky enough to take the helm of a bottom-placed Werder Bremen and inspired the Bundesliga side’s remarkable turnaround, is the Iranian-German player-turned-coach Alexander Nouri.
The sensational manager rearranged and promoted the team in terms of technique, tactic and above all morale. The 37-year-old gave his players new roles that proved effective after a rough restart, helping Bremen see itself within three points of Europe at the end of the season.
Nouri was among the spectators at Azadi Stadium in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Monday night when Iran clinched a well-deserved 2-0 win over Uzbekistan in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers to be part of the next year’s extravaganza in Russia.
Commenting on the match and Iran’s historic second consecutive qualification in a live Iranian popular football TV show, ‘90’, Nouri said, “I am proud of being an Iranian […]. Iran’s players were in control of the match and did not let the Uzbeks threaten their goal. The structure of the Iranian side was very good.”
He added the players’ contribution to defense and good dummy runs throughout the match were key to Iran’s victory.
Sardar Azmoun’s goal in the 23rd minute put Iran in control before Mehdi Taremi’s goal two minutes from the time secured all three points, giving Iran a spectacular 11th consecutive clean sheet of the campaign – three registered in the Round 2 and eight produced in the Round 3 (currently underway) of the Asian qualifiers.
“This was the eighth successive match [in the Round 3 of the Asian qualifiers] that Iran did not concede any goal, which is indicative of the collective support [all the players provide their goalkeeper with]. Our team displays good quality as it sees players such as Azmoun and Taremi in its lineup.”
On how he felt after the match, he said, “I am [at present] in the country of my father and ancestors. It makes me very happy when I see the people of my country.”
Nouri helped Werder Bremen finish eighth in the Bundesliga table at the end of the 2016-17 season with 45 points from 34 matches. Although his side failed to book a Europa League berth, he managed to save the team from a disastrous finish in the previous season of the German league.
He is currently quite popular in Germany as, in addition to obtaining good results with his side in the Bundesliga, his behavior and moves in the technical area during the match are very interesting. The coach’s emotional reactions during his team’s games have caused many not to notice or regret the absence of former Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, who moved to Liverpool in 2015.