SC are set to face SV Darmstadt 98 at home in the Bundesliga following the international break. The game against the newly-promoted side at a sold-out Europa-Park Stadion will kick-off on Saturday at 15:30 CET.
The international players are back, with all six having enjoyed some success. Philipp Lienhart, Ritsu Doan and Merlin Röhl got on the scoresheet for their respective national teams, whilst five out of the six SC players secured wins. However, there was some bad news as Röhl returned from the Germany U21 national team duty with a knock. It’s not clear whether he will be available for the upcoming game: “Unfortunately, Merlin is injured. He needed stitches on his foot after he was fouled by an opponent. Therefore, he’ll probably miss out – it’s really upsetting,” said Christian Streich, who was, however, pleased with Lienhart and Gregoritsch’s performances as the Austrian duo returned to training following two wins against Estonia and Germany. “The two Austrian lads certainly gained some self-confidence – they both played well.”
Darmstadt 98 also play good football. The Lilies, who dominated the 2. Bundesliga last season, have had to adapt quickly to the reality of life in the top-flight – the newly-promoted side had to wait until matchday 6 for their first win, with another win and a draw following directly afterwards against Ausgburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach respectively. Torsten Lieberknecht’s team have picked up one point since then, picking up a draw against Mainz 05 last time out. They also registered their first clean sheet of the season against Mainz, whilst this also represented a small sense of achievement for Darmstadt given that they have conceded the most goals in the league so far this season (32).
Darmstadt are “brave”
The number of goals conceded is the main difference between the visitors and SC Freiburg. On the other hand, both clubs have scored 14 goals. Both Darmstadt as well as SC are most threatening from set-piece situations – both teams have scored more than a third of their goals from set-pieces. “Darmstadt are a good team with a lot quality going forwards. It could similarly tough for us like it was in Paderborn,” Manuel Gulde predicted.
Streich agreed with Gulde and also highlighted Darmstadt’s technical quality: “I’ve already watched Darmstadt play four or five times. They are a good technical team who create plenty of chances and play really good football. They move the ball around well and have lots of tall players for set-pieces. Meanwhile, the players who had picked up bans are now back. They play bravely, following the motto: We’ve got nothing to lose. It’s going to be a really tough test for us. I’ve also told the team exactly the same thing. We need everything we’ve got so that we don’t let them get into their stride – that also applies out of possession.
Before the international break, SC Freiburg solely played against teams who are above them in the league table. “We didn’t deserve to lose two out of those three games if we look at our performances,” Streich said, looking back upon the games against Leverkusen, Leipzig and Dortmund. SC now face games against clubs below them in the table. “The upcoming clashes are very important for us because we don’t want to let these teams get too close to us in the table.” The team would like to increase the gap to these sides in order to “remain in calm waters”.
Photo: SC Freiburg