SCF draw against Heidenheim in Streich’s final home game

First Team

Freiburg’s final home game of the season ended in a 1-1 draw against FC Heidenheim. Ritsu Doan put the home side ahead, before FCH equalised through Kevin Sessa.

Freiburg’s last home match of the season was an emotional affair, even before the action on the pitch got underway. Yannik Keitel and Attila Szalai bid farewell to the SCF fans, chants for legendary coach Christian Streich rang out around the ground and an impressive tifo that stretched across three stands was unveiled to commemorate the club’s 120th anniversary.

Eventually, the action on the pitch brought an end to the emotional farewells, as both sides braced themselves for a huge clash in the race to qualify for Europe next season. Freiburg got off to a better start and looked to attack the hosts early on, bolstered by the return of Nicolas Höfler, who missed last weekend’s stalemate with Köln due to suspension. The first real chance of the game fell to Heidenheim’s Jonas Föhrenbach, however. SCF would have their first sight of goal in the 13th minute of the match, with Keitel heading over following a free kick. The hosts would not have to wait long for their next opportunity, as Michael Gregoritsch fired just wide two minutes later.

Doan gives SCF the lead

“We’ve got to make everyone feel our desire,” exclaimed Streich ahead of the clash with FCH. The hosts did exactly that as the first half progressed. Vincenzo Grifo hounded an opposition player, while Roland Sallai barrelled past two Heidenheim defenders – the team was working like a well-oiled machine. The only missing puzzle piece was composure in front of goal. Gregoritsch would have another opportunity in the 25th minute, but he was unable to get enough power or placement on his shot, which Kevin Müller caught with little trouble.

One SCF player did step up to the plate, however. Christian Günter put in a cross that was met by a diving Ritsu Doan. The Japanese international’s header squeezed under FCH keeper Müller and into the back of the net to put Freiburg in front. It was a deserved lead for the home side, but Heidenheim were not out of the game by any means. Kevin Sessa slipped past his marker and found himself one-on-one with Noah Atubolu. The midfielder slotted the ball past Freiburg’s number one to level things up once more (38’). There were no other chances of note in the first half, as the sides went into the dressing rooms level-pegging.

SC narrowly miss the net

Freiburg seized back control of the game in the second half, but struggled to create chances or find success going forward. Grifo hit the post with an effort from a corner, which rebounded into the feet of Gregoritsch, but he wasn’t fully anticipating it and fired the ball directly at the keeper from close range (55’). Heidenheim sat deep and were saved by the woodwork once again, as Grifo's rocket from 25 metres out struck the crossbar (61’). The midfielder was then in on goal again just four minutes later, but missed the target completely.

SC were desperate to come out on top in what was their final home game of the season, and the last at their stomping ground under head coach Streich. This was plain to see throughout the 90 minutes. Heidenheim were put through their paces and forced to make decisive stops to the Freiburg attack in their own penalty area. Sallai had a go in the 73rd minute, but his shot narrowly missed the target, after which Gregoritsch tried his luck (76’), but his effort soared over the crossbar. Lucas Höler came off the bench for the Austrian, and immediately got in on the action with a header that flew just inches away from the Heidenheim goal.

The visitors were unable to create any chances going forward for the remainder of the game, as they were so busy focusing on fending off SC’s attack. Keitel had a go in the 82nd minute, followed by Grifo’s free kick in added time, which missed the visitors’ net by a whisker.

A day for SC Freiburg’s history books

“We deserved more today,” admitted Maximilian Eggestein. Christian Günter added: “We should have won today considering the number of chances we had.” SC Freiburg could have used the three points to make progress in their quest for Europe, but after only picking up one from the encounter, the side will have to “leave everything out there” in the final game of the season against Union Berlin, according to Günter. Streich also had something to add on Saturday’s game: “We just couldn’t find the back of the net today. The boys gave it their all. We’re disappointed, but in the same breath, we’re still in with a chance of making Europe.”

The game was put in the back of everyone’s mind as soon as the final whistle blew, however, as it was time to say farewell to Streich and assistant coach Patrick Baier. The celebrations were not short-lived, with the pair receiving standing ovations, cheers and applause from all the fans at the Europa-Park Stadion as they completed a lap of honour. Even Heidenheim’s head coach Frank Schmidt felt it appropriate to pay tribute to the work of Streich and Baier, adding: “The moments after the game were my personal highlight of the day.”

Like so many points in recent years, SC Freiburg’s home game against FCH will remain a stand-out moment in the club’s history.

Photo: Achim Keller


SC Freiburg: Atubolu - Kübler, Keitel, Gulde (57. Makengo) - Doan, Eggestein, Höfler, Günter (77. Weißhaupt) - Sallai (88. Philipp), Grifo - Gregoritsch (77. Höler) 
Head coach: Christian Streich 
Substitutes: Müller, Szalai, Weißhaupt, Höler, Adamu, Muslija, Philipp, Makengo 
1. FC Heidenheim: Müller - Traoré, Mainka, Gimber, Föhrenbach (65. Maloney) - Dinkci (65. Dovedan), Schöppner, Theuerkauf, Beste (88. Beck) - Pieringer (74. Thomalla), Sessa (74. Pick) 
Head coach: Frank Schmidt 
Substitutes: Eicher, Siersleben, Schimmer, Thomalla, Pick, Dovedan, Beck, Kühlwetter, Maloney 
Goals: 1:0 Doan (29.), 1:1 Sessa (38.) 
Yellow cards: Sessa, Grifo 
Red cards: 
Referee: Daniel Siebert 
Attendance: 34.700 (7502) 
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