Maximilian Eggestein: Werder Bremen’s multifunctional midfielder

Maximilian Eggestein has just received his first callup to the German National Team as Joachim Loew ushers in a new era for Die Mannschaft. Eggestein has been one of the most highly regarded talents coming out of the Bremen academy as he has been used in a variety of roles and responsibilities by Werder’s laundry list of different coaches. Florian Kohfeldt has reaped the benefits of having such a multi-faceted midfielder by moving the young German around in different formations and during different phases of games.


Eggestein has played as an auxiliary centre-back in a back three, a deep-lying playmaker, box-to-box midfielder, attacking midfielder and winger all to good effect this season as his adaptive nature has made him an influential part of an entertaining Werder side. Eggestein is lanky and long-limbed in stature possessing an unyielding motor that allows him to cover vast swathes of the pitch. The 22-year-old came through the Bremen academy as an attacking player, so it was a surprise when he accumulated game-time for the first team as the deepest-lying midfielder during Alexander Nouri’s tenure. The youngster adapted to his change in position well and became one of the side’s better players during a difficult period where the club were in a relegation dog-fight.


These experiences prepared him for the many positions that Kohfeldt has used him in this season. At home to Hoffenheim, Eggestein played at the base of midfield as his responsibility was to not only win and recycle possession but also to drop in between his two centre-backs as an auxiliary defender in Werder Bremen’s low block. Bremen usually employ a 5-3-2 low block as the older Eggestein brother was filling in two positions during the game. Eggestein also had to push up to provide press security during Werder’s pressing and counter-pressing phase.


Eggestein filling out a defensive and more withdrawn role was intriguing as during that period of the season, he was Werder Bremen’s top goal scorer. In a match against Red Bull Leipzig, Eggestein started in the same hybrid defensive midfielder and centre-back role before Kohfeldt switched to a 4-3-3 where Eggestein moved into the midfield three. He is constantly at the heart of Werder Bremen’s tactical changes and transformations. The young German is also adept at covering for Theodore Gebre-Selassie when he bursts forward to join attacks as the youngster has a highly developed tactical mind.


This should not overshadow his technical guile as the lanky midfielder has the ability to turn on a six-pence and glide past opponents. This particularly helps when he is playing out wide as he can drive forward on counters to cross the ball or be involved in chances. In a home match against Eintracht Frankfurt, he took on a pass from Martin Harnik to hold his marker off with his shoulder and create a yard of space by twisting and turning away from three players to fire past Kevin Trapp. His dribbling ability allows him to evade pressure in build-up while also being an integral asset in 1v1s on the flank.


Not only can Eggestein fill in as a deep-lying midfielder or winger but he can also be deployed in a box to box or attacking midfield role. He can get heavily involved in approach play by being positioned in the central pockets or in the half-spaces. Bremen enjoy quick passing combinations as Max Kruse and Eggestein can work the ball quickly through the tighter central areas. The younger German is a gifted one-touch passer and can instigate or be involved in moves through the channels while also being able to finish them off from inside the box.

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Away to Wolfsburg, Eggestein had a moment where he cut in off the right flank and lobbed a perfectly weighted chipped cross into the path of Kruse who prodded it home. Eggestein’s creativity is not only enhanced by accurate well-weighted crosses but also by his penchant for playing well weighted through balls to runners in behind. Away to Hertha Berlin, he poked a through ball to Milot Rashica in behind. Another move illustrated his well-wounded skillset as he gained possession in the deeper areas of the pitch, spread the ball out wide to Kruse before making a run into space to take on Kruse’s pass and attempt a through ball that was intercepted.


Kruse is the creative hub of the team as Davy Klaassen, Philipp Bargfrede, Kevin Mohwald and Eggestein all have defensive responsibilities and need to be developed as all-round players. Eggestein is developing into an intelligent two-way player who can demand possession from the keeper or the centre-backs, play the first pass in between the lines to beat opposition pressure while also being a threat in the opposition third as a winger or attacking midfielder.  


At international level, being a player that could play a variety of positions with differing roles could make Eggestein a favourite of Joachim Loew in this new era for the German National Team. It is also important for young players to play a variety of positions on the field in the formative years of their career in order to gain perspective on how to subconsciously adapt to the needs of their teammates. However, there is also equity in Eggestein not becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none as being constantly moved around the pitch will not allow him to develop his immense potential in one position.


We appreciate his versatility. He pairs tactical discipline with a good instinct for space and the opponent’s runs, so he knows when he can leave his position,” said Germany U21 coach, Steven Kuntz.


Eggestein has recently received his first call-up to the German National Team which is well deserved as he has developed into a vital player for Werder Bremen. His club will be looking to tie him down onto a new contract as his current one expires at the end of next season and clubs are already beginning to circle with interest. His three assists in his last three games have begun to outline his creative ability as he is fulfilling his early promise as a Werder Bremen youth player.