Exactly one week after the 4-0 victory against FC Schalke 04, SC Freiburg welcome TSG Hoffenheim to the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Saturday at 15:30 CEST.
The milestone of 40 points in the table has been reached with five games yet to play and with it, Freiburg’s status as a Bundesliga team has been all but confirmed for another season. There’s no time to rest on laurels as the season nears its conclusion though, as SC prepare for the final push to finish the season well.
“For us it’s a matter of our place in the table, our reputation, and recognition,” emphasised Christian Streich at Thursday’s digital pre-match press conference. SC’s head coach continued on to explain the team’s goal of moving one or two places higher by the end of a campaign that has been a successful one so far.
Upcoming opponents TSG Hoffenheim currently sit in 11th place on 35 points. Following a trend of bad luck with both injuries and positive COVID-19 tests, coach Sebastian Hoeneß's team is once again on an upwards trajectory. Two respectable goalless draws against Leverkusen and Leipzig were followed by a spectacular 3-2 victory over Mönchengladbach on Wednesday, in which TSG came from two goals down.
Meanwhile, SC Freiburg sit in ninth place having played one game fewer than the team from Sinsheim. Christian Streich took advantage of the postponed game against Hertha BSC on Wednesday (rescheduled for 6th May) to scout the opposition and watch Hoffenheim live in the stadium.
“A lot of things are going right for them at the moment. They have a clear system, are very good tactically, press very intensively, and have a lot of individual quality to go with that. They make it very tough to play out from the back,” explained Streich. “We’ll have to think carefully about how we approach the game. Whether we play three men or four at the back and then how we start up front as well. We’re yet to finalise our plans.”
Also undecided is who will come in to replace Baptiste Santamaria, with the defensive midfielder suspended from Saturday’s game following his fifth yellow card of the season. Regardless of the squad and tactical questions yet to be answered, SC’s head coach is looking forward to what is likely to be “a very energetic and competitive game of football.” Streich stressed his respect for TSG, but continued: “I see no reason why we shouldn’t go into the game with full commitment. We’re motivated and ready.”