Bundesliga 2023-24: Werder Bremen suspends midfielder Naby Keita for skipping Bayer Leverkusen match

Werder Bremen suspended former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita for the rest of the season on Tuesday after he skipped the team’s last Bundesliga match.

Bremen said in a statement that it also gave Keita “a substantial fine” and that he will no longer train with the team.

On Sunday, Keita chose not to travel with the rest of the team to the game at Bayer Leverkusen and instead went home after he found out he was not going to be in the starting lineup, the club said.

“As a club, we won’t tolerate Naby’s behavior. He let his team down in a time of difficulty surrounding our recent run of form and squad availability and put his own interests above those of the team. We can’t allow that,” Bremen sporting director Clemens Fritz said. “At this stage of the season, we need full focus on the remaining games and a team who stick together. That’s why we’ve been left with no alternative.”

Keita joined Bremen from Liverpool last summer but struggled to make an impact in an injury-plagued season. The 29-year-old Guinea midfielder made only five Bundesliga appearances all season, four of those as a substitute.

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Bremen has other worries after seven games without a win in the Bundesliga. Keita missed the 5-0 defeat that confirmed Leverkusen’s first league title on Sunday — a loss that left Bremen just five points above the relegation zone with five rounds remaining.

Bremen next hosts third-placed Stuttgart, which is closing in on Champions League qualification after nine wins in 11 games in the Bundesliga.

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