If this match were to be played in front of spectators, it would have been worth a lot more than the cost of a match ticket: SC Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt produced a cracker of a football match on Tuesday night. There were no winners in the end but plenty of potential for a rollercoaster of emotions. Freiburg took the lead, conceded an equaliser – and just as they looked likely to go behind, they struck twice. But, as Frankfurt also scored twice, the match ended all square at 3-3 leaving SCF with just one point. Even the coach Christian Streich, who has seen a lot during his time in charge, talked about a “crazy match.” The team from Baden are still waiting for their first win after the restart – although the 1-1 draw at Leipzig in the opening match felt close to being a win. And the prevailing mood at Freiburg is anything but negative as the current campaign has already exceeded expectations. SC Freiburg have been in the top half of the table for all 28 matchdays so far and they are still in the running to finish in a European qualification position. Streich’s team have picked up 38 points so far – more than in the previous two seasons after 34 matchdays.
Three goals conceded – and the goalkeeper was still the main man: Alexander Schwolow frustrated Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday. He had to pick the ball out his net three times but it seemed like he saved everything. The 27-year-old pulled off some brilliant saves and he succeeded in preventing almost certain goals again and again. “Alexander Schwolow was our best player without doubt,” praised Streich. “He was outstanding in goal” – and not for the first time after the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Schwolow was already in top form for the 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig and he rescued the point in Saxony. Performances that have attracted attention in Germany and beyond. According to media reports last week, there is interest in the Freiburg shot-stopper amongst top European clubs.
Schwolow is not on his own in the SCF squad. Defender Robin Koch plus striker Luca Waldschmidt have also been the focus of attention from some big clubs. Both players have been in the Germany since last year. However: Both Koch and Waldschmidt picked up knocks in the game against Frankfurt. Koch complained of back pain and Waldschmidt is struggling with ankle problem. Both were in the starting eleven against Frankfurt, but is seems likely that Streich will rest one or both players at the end of a busy week with the game being played on Friday night.
Streich will probably be quite happy if he doesn’t have to praise Schwolow after the game against the Werkself. Indeed, the coach was clearly unhappy to have to be in a position that requires such an outstanding performance. “Frankfurt had far too many chances,” he said in criticism of his team. “It was extreme.” Streich particularly bemoaned the the lack of organisation with Freiburg giving the opposition attack too much space. It is possible that SCF will be cautious about their defensive structure against Bayer 04. That was how Freiburg took a point when they visited the BayArena in the autumn.
Freiburg continually look to build their own future. With players like Schwolow, Koch and Waldschmidt, the promotion of talented players will continue to be encouraged and thereby – if those players are to be sold on – the financial capacity of the club will be ensured for years ahead. In addition, the big infrastructure project at the club is close to being concluded. SCF have been building a new stadium for around 18 months and it was due to be completed for next season. The coronavirus pandemic put paid to those plans. And nevertheless: The club hopes to be able to move into the new stadium over the course of the season – perhaps with fixtures on the European stage.
Freiburg are in with a good chance of qualifying for the Europa League – at least if the Werkself play their part. If Bayer 04 and Bayern Munich go though to the DFB Cup final, seventh place would be enough to qualify for Europe – and that appears to realistic from a Freiburg perspective. All the more remarkable because the main rivals will probably be Wolfsburg, Schalke 04 and Hoffenheim – all clubs with greater reputations but Freiburg do not have to fear them this season.
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