“We have to take control of the game”

First Team

SC Freiburg are set to take on RB Leipzig at the Europa-Park Stadion on matchday 28 (Saturday, 15:30 CEST).

Christian Streich came straight from the training pitch to his press conference ahead of the home game against Leipzig. “There were far more than 1000 people at the training pitch. It was incredible today,” explained the head coach, who of course signed plenty of autographs for the many fans, and especially children, who had come to watch training during the Easter holidays, alongside his players. 

The stadium will also be full on Saturday, with the home section sold out. However, Matthias Ginter, Philipp Lienhart and Noah Weißhaupt will have to take their places in the stands due to injury. Ginter will not be able to play again for SC this season as he requires an operation on his Achilles tendon. 

SC are once again up against one of this season’s top five sides as was the case in the last home game against Leverkusen before the international break. Their record is not particularly good against these sides. Freiburg have only been able to pick up one point against Leverkusen, Bayern, Stuttgart, Dortmund and Leipzig so far this season, having secured a draw in the home game against FC Bayern. Nevertheless, Streich was able to take some positives from some of these clashes, notably the return fixture in Leipzig: “We played really well there, and only lost the game due to a penalty. However, if we play like we did in Leipzig and at home to Leverkusen, then we could have a really good game. We’re highly motivated.”

RBL on a four-game unbeaten run in the league

Leipzig’s battle for a spot in the Champions League this year has certainly not been as plain sailing so far as it was for them last season. With seven points fewer than third-place VfB Stuttgart, RBL are currently fifth in the table, and are a whole ten points behind FC Bayern in second. In fact, the Bundesliga is the only competition Saturday’s opponent are still contenders in this campaign. In light of RBL getting knocked out of the UCL in the round of 16, Freiburg head coach Streich argued: “They should have gone even further. Leipzig played insanely well in Madrid.”

RB crashed out in the second round of the Pokal this season, despite having won the two previous editions. Nevertheless, it was a totally different story for the side in the Bundesliga, particularly with the impressive number of points they have accumulated as of late. In their last four games, RBL have emerged victorious three times and drawn once, which was against 15th-place Bochum.

With regards to Leipzig’s performance against Real Madrid in particular, Streich is fully aware of what is required from his team in the upcoming clash. “We have to push ourselves to the limits and take control of the game rather than sitting back and letting them come at us. If we do that, we’ll be in with a chance. There will, of course, be moments where we’ll need to sit deeper when out of possession.” The head coach did not disclose SCF’s tactics or the squad for Friday’s game against Leipzig, who he claimed have “strong individual quality.”

Photo: Susann Friedrich

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