“Concentrating all of our energy against Schalke”

Roland Sallai (left) scored both goals for Freiburg in the 2-0 win earlier this season (photo: Bernd Thissen).
First Team

SC Freiburg take on FC Schalke 04 at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Matchday 29 of the Bundesliga season. The match takes place on Saturday and kicks off at 15:30 CEST.

Freiburg’s 1-0 defeat in Bielefeld was one of the hardest to swallow results of the season so far. “We started the first half well and kept our structure to play good football against their four-man defence. Unfortunately we just weren’t able to find that final bit of quality to finish our chances,” summed up SC head coach Christian Streich at the pre-match press conference at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Thursday. “We weren’t forceful enough in the second half and didn’t play with enough courage.” The consequence of all of this was an own goal conceded and a second away loss in the space of six days.

In the meantime however, focus has turned to upcoming challenges with all eyes on this weekend’s clash against FC Schalke 04. Saturday’s game provides Christian Streich’s team with the next opportunity to progress towards the 40-point mark. “We weren’t happy with either of the past two results, particularly with the defeat against Bielefeld. The motivation to have a great game against Schalke will be very high with the team,” said the head coach. Streich continued on to explain that there will always be phases of the season in which things don’t go your way, but as the campaign reaches its climax, what’s important is “concentrating all of our energy, maintaining focus out on the pitch for the full 90 minutes, and reaching our potential in terms of the football we’re playing.”

On paper, SC are firm favourites for the match with 37 points compared to the visitors’ total of 13 points. But this paints a picture that may not be representative of the whole situation. Dimitrios Grammozis’ team are on an upwards trend following a narrow 2-1 defeat in Leverkusen and last weekend’s 1-0 win against FC Augsburg.

“Schalke are currently in the best form they have been in all season. It will be an interesting game against a team who belong in the Bundesliga and who have gained some stability of late. In terms of what that means for us, we have to make sure we keep a firm grip on the game and play good football with courage,” stressed Christian Streich. “We have to be prepared for all eventualities and I intend to make sure that we are. We’re a very ambitious team and we’re not satisfied with the last few games.”

Freiburg’s head coach will have a full squad to choose from for the encounter. The only question mark is whether Vincenzo Grifo will be able to play. The Italian international only returned to training on Thursday after recovering from a coronavirus infection.


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