Freiburg’s Europa League campaign will begin on Thursday evening, after making it to the round of 16 last season. SC will play away against Olympiacos on the first matchday of the group stages (21:00 CEST).
SCF are going back to Athens! Last season’s Europa League campaign also began with an away fixture against Olympiacos on 15th September 2022 when the men from Breisgau had a fantastic evening in the Karaiskakis Stadium, winning 3-0 thanks to a goal from Nicolas Höfler and a brace from Michael Gregoritsch. That very stadium will once again serve as the stage for the start of Freiburg’s European journey this year. “We’ve got to enjoy and appreciate the chance to go back there,” said Lucas Höler, who eagerly anticipates SC’s opening game of the Europa League along with the rest of his teammates.
Maximilian Eggestein is particularly looking forward to the atmosphere in the stadium: “We expect a hostile environment – it was impressive last year,” the midfielder recalled. The Olympiacos fans have had reason to be in good voice as of late given that their team has been performing well. Diego Martinez’s side have won three and drawn one (against title holders AEK Athens) of their opening four games in the Greek Super League, scoring ten goals and conceding none.
Excited to be taking part again
“It’s a completely different team to last season. Back then, they weren’t enjoying the same form they currently are. They are extremely well organised now and very clinical. We know what’s coming our way,” said head coach Christian Streich. “But, we’re not worried. We’re excited to get to play in the Europa League again.”
Streich isn’t only looking forward to being able to play in several different European cities. “The trips we can look forward to, the different languages and cultures all make it a great experience for us. It’s a big deal and a unique challenge,” he said. Eggestein also confirmed that there is no “extra motivation” necessary. “The fans are excited and so are we. We’re extremely motivated and are looking forward to the first six games, while also hoping that there will be a few more to come next year.” SC are hoping to be able to once again make it out of the group stage, although the focus remains on the here and now.
Michael Gregoritsch will miss the match due to injury, while Manuel Gulde is still serving his suspension from last season (two yellows in the return leg of the round of 16 game against Juventus). Nicolas Höfler, who was sent off against Dortmund on the weekend, will be able to feature.
Photo: SC Freiburg