The last dance

First Team

SCF will travel to the capital to take on relegation-threatened FC Union Berlin on Saturday (15:30 CEST).

After bowing out at home, one more game remains for Christian Streich at SC Freiburg. Following the emotional goodbye in front of the SCF fans after the draw against Heidenheim, Streich’s twelve-and-a-half year stint as Freiburg head coach will come to an end on Saturday.

Farewells and departures are very much the theme of the final Bundesliga matchday for SCF, as Yannik Keitel, Attila Szalai and assistant coach Patrick Baier will also leave the club at the end of the season. It also remains to be seen how Freiburg’s journey will continue next year. SC are guaranteed a midtable finish, but time will tell whether they are able to book their spot in the Europa League, or whether they will compete in the UEFA Conference League for the very first time next season.

There’s also a lot at stake for Union, just as there is for many teams across Germany on the final matchday. Saturday’s hosts find themselves in a precarious position heading into the final game of the season, after two losses on the spin against direct competitors has left them in danger of going down. As a result, the Eisern will be keen to give their fans something to cheer about at the end of a tumultuous campaign. “For Union, it’s all about survival. It goes without saying that they’ll do everything they can to stay up, while we’re going to do everything in our power to end the season on a high. It’s going to be a clash between two highly motivated sides,” explained Christian Streich.

Despite putting in two impressive performances in their last couple of home games, SCF have not quite been able to get over the line. “We weren’t able to win our last two games. Now, we’re hoping that we can take our chances in Berlin and start to reap what we sow once again,” stated Streich. “The boys have been disappointed with the recent results, even though we’ve only lost one of our last four matches.

Given SCF’s current position in the table, a point from the game at the Alte Försterei would be enough to qualify for the Conference League next season. That being said, Streich made it clear that – as always – his side are not going to settle for a draw. “We’re playing to win. We’re going to know how things are going elsewhere in the final 20, 25 minutes of our game at the very least. I don’t think there’s ever been a game where we’ve sat down in the dressing room and said, ‘Today, we’re going to try and play for a draw.’ We don’t want to do that and we can’t afford to do so,” said Freiburg’s outgoing head coach.

In any case, all the pressure is on Union. As Streich put it, SC “don’t have anything to lose” on the final day of the season. The 58-year-old went on to praise his side for everything they’ve achieved together this season. “We had another great run in the Europa League. We’ve experienced a lot and battled through countless setbacks together. The boys are motivated and have given it their all. We’ve had to make a few tweaks and the players went along with them without any complaints. I’m optimistic that, on the last day of the season, we’ll play the way that people have come to expect of SC Freiburg.”

There are no new squad updates ahead of the final away game of 2023/24, with a long list of players who are struggling with short- and long-term injuries, as well as some who are suspended, unavailable for the clash against Union. The team will be able to count on the support of their fans, however, with around 2,500 SCF supporters expected to accompany SC Freiburg to Berlin for Christian Streich’s last dance

Photo: Achim Keller

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