Christian Streich admitted at the pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s home game against Hertha BSC that preparations haven’t been ideal. “A number of our players have been away on international duty and that’s meant we haven’t been able to train properly,” said the SC coach. The U23s game against 1. FC Saarbrücken being on Monday night was also not at a good time, with training over the last two weeks mainly just consisting of small groups instead.
After “two dropped points against Mainz”, Streich wants to get back to winning ways against the ‘Old Lady’. “This game is really important for us, especially when you look at the table. It will be an even game. We will have to give our all to beat Hertha.”
Final weeks for Petersen
This game against the Berliners will be the fifth-last Bundesliga home match in Nils Petersen’s career. He announced his retirement from professional football on Wednesday. “It is a difficult decision to make because Nils has played great football for so long and has experienced so much,” commented Streich. “He’s had a wonderful career. He will be a massive loss for us, both on and off the pitch.”
Petersen could be in the starting XI against Hertha due to Michael Gregoritsch’s suspension for five yellow cards. It would be a wonderful story if the 34-year-old could score SC’s 1,000th Bundesliga goal – they are currently on 998.
The game will likely come too soon for Philipp Lienhart (thigh issue), though he isn’t completely ruled out yet.
Streich’s praise for Hertha
Hertha last won in Freiburg over 13 years ago, a 3-0 victory on 21st February 2010. That fact, coupled with Hertha’s return of just four away points this season, means that Freiburg are strong favourites going into this one.
However, Christian Streich doesn’t see it that way. “This is a team that is well structured and very aggressive. They have a similar style to Mainz.” The head coach was also full of praise for a Hertha squad that he described as a “stable team” and includes Suat Serdar, Dodi Lukebakio and Florian Niederlechner.
Freiburg had to fight hard for a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture. The goalscorers that day most certainly will not be on the scoresheet again this time around. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh remains sidelined after an ACL tear, while Kevin Schade has since moved to Brentford.
Photo: Ottmar Winter