A good starting position ahead of the clash against Olympiacos

First Team

SC would secure their place in second of Europa League Group A with a draw against Olympiacos on Thursday. 

SC will face Olympiacos for the fourth time in 14 months on Thursday. Freiburg are unbeaten against the Greek record champions in the three matches played and if their unbeaten run continues on Thursday, captain Grifo and his teammates would book themselves a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League for the second consecutive year. West Ham United and Freiburg are currently in first and second position respectively with both sides on nine points. Olympiacos is currently in third position on four points. 

Lucas Höler is aware of how the table looks ahead of Thursday’s fixture: “Obviously, there’s a bit more pressure on Olympiacos, but that doesn’t affect our game whatsoever. We go into every game with the aim of winning, especially when we’re playing in front of a home crowd.” 34,000 fans are expected to be in the Europa-Park Stadion on Thursday evening. 

Röhl and Sallai could feature in the squad

Head coach Christian Streich could have more options available to him on Thursday. Merlin Röhl (lacerated wound) and Roland Sallai (muscle strain) are back in team training and could be back in the squad for the match against Olympiacos. “Merlin’s wound healed well and he didn’t have any niggles back in training. He also didn’t miss out on much; he was only out for a week,” said Christian Streich. “Roland was out for a longer period of time and we left him out of the squad for the game against Darmstadt on purpose. However, that doesn’t mean that he’ll be in the starting XI and he definitely won’t play the full 90 minutes. That being said, it’s really important for us that we’ve got both of these players back because now we’ve got more options.” 

SC’s opponents have a large squad in general. “They have the advantage that they can continually rotate due to their quality in the league,” explained SC head coach Streich, who expects a “very intense, fast game” against the Greek side. Philipp Lienhart is the only SC Freiburg player in danger of picking up a suspension against the powerful visitors. The Austrian centre-back received two yellow cards in the first four group games, with players receiving a one-game-suspension following their third yellow card. 

Höler wants to keep going against Olympiacos

SC only scored one goal in their previous Bundesliga game against SV Darmstadt – even though both Lucas Höler as well as Christian Streich saw lots of positive signs. “I thought that we did well with the ball,” Höler explained. His coach added: “We had lots of promising situations and made the wrong decision. What can be criticised are the players’ runs into the box off the ball.

Höler scored Freiburg’s single goal at the weekend, whilst he would like to be able to celebrate a goal from his strike partner Michael Gregoritsch against Olympiacos, explaining: “Of course a goal helps a striker’s self-confidence and I want to continue where I left off at the weekend. Preferably, we’ll both score a goal – that would be perfect.” Very few SC Freiburg fans would object to this happening.

Photo: SC Freiburg

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