"I haven't stopped developing yet"

First Team

Before heading into a quarantine training camp, Philipp Lienhart caught up with us to talk about his contract extension, the upcoming EUROs and a potential goalscoring record for Robert Lewandowski. 

scfreiburg.com: Philipp, the week started with some great news: you have extended your contract at Freiburg!

It was a pretty easy decision to make. I’m having a good time with Freiburg, that’s been the case for a few years now. It’s definitely the right decision to extend here. I feel happy– both within the team, but also in the city. And I feel a lot of backing from the club, which makes me happy. 

What was it that made you realise that your future lies in Freiburg? 

The potential. I haven’t stopped developing yet. I still see Freiburg as an ideal place to keep developing and get better.

You have been here since 2017 and made 88 appearances for the club. What memories stand out for you?

Firstly, my Bundesliga debut against Frankfurt, I think it finished 0-0. I always look back fondly on that game. On top of that, there were many wins with the fans; they are always special moments. And then I’d say my first Bundesliga goal, against Bremen…

A combination of fortune and technical quality with the backheel…

(laughs) Yes, I think it was a bit of both. The execution was good; I reacted quickly. But obviously I needed a little bit of luck too. 

After three seasons without a goal, you’ve now rediscovered your goalscoring instincts with four goals in 2020/21.

I had lots of chances in previous seasons. It bothered me that I wasn’t finishing them off. This season has been better and I’m hoping it’ll keep going that way. 

The Bundesliga season is almost over, but you won’t have to wait long for the next sporting highlight…

For me, the European Championship in the summer is a huge goal. As a kid, I used to dream of playing for Austria one day. And to do that at a EUROs would be a great experience. I hope I will be a part of it. 

Austria is in a group with the Netherlands, Ukraine and North Macedonia. What can you get from that?

We all know that a tournament like this is really difficult. We want to prepare will and have a friendly against England, for example. Hopefully we can cause one or two surprises at the tournament. 

Before then, there are still two Bundesliga matches to play. And Saturday could be easier…

It’s always even more difficult against Bayern than against other opponents. But at the same time, the team is excited. Like in any game, we need to stay alert, defend very well and find solutions with the ball. If we manage that and can make things awkward for them, I think we have a chance.

Bayern were crowned champions last weekend. Does that make them less dangerous? 

No, I don’t think so. Bayern have the best players in Europe in their team. And there’s still a goal record that Robert Lewandowski will be wanting to beat…

He’s just one goal away from Gerd Müller’s "eternal record" (40 goals)…

I really want him to get the record. But hopefully not this weekend (laughs). Ideally, we can defend so well that he doesn’t score. 

You will now be in a quarantine training camp for the rest of the season. What have you planned to pass the time?

Obviously, I packed my PlayStation! Let’s see what the lads are playing.

Bit of FIFA?

I’m unfortunately not talented enough for that (laughs). But there will probably be a few games for sure.

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