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“It could come down to the wire”

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The DFB-Pokal last 16 is just around the corner and SC Freiburg have a chance to put things right just three days after a disappointing defeat in Dortmund. “We weren’t good enough in the duels and it’s very difficult to keep up when you’re down to ten men against a side like Dortmund,” said head coach Christian Streich on the weekend’s game.

The team had a similar situation just two weeks ago, when a poor start to 2023 in Wolfsburg was followed up by a much-improved performance four days later against Frankfurt. Lukas Kübler also saw the similarities. “It’s pretty much like the game in Wolfsburg. We played Frankfurt soon after that game, and this time we have the cup game midweek. So we have an opportunity to make up for it soon.”

The head coach said there should be no lack of motivation for his side. “The cup is always special and it allows us to experience some very special things. That should be motivation in itself. I expect every player to put everything into it. We can move into the quarter-finals with a win.”

“A tricky game”

Freiburg’s opposition Sandhausen also suffered a heavy defeat last time out, losing 4-0 to 2. Bundesliga leaders SV Darmstadt. Alois Schwartz’s side are in 15th place in the league and made it into last 16 of the DFB-Pokal with a penalty-shootout win over Karlsruhe in the last round.

Kübler, who joined SCF from Tuesday’s opponents, is expecting a “very intense, physical and tricky game.” Streich agrees. “It could go down to the wire. It’s the cup, it’s an away tie. Unfortunately, I can’t say exactly how I expect Sandhausen to play. They may well try to attack early or sit back and make us come at them. One thing is clear: they will be fully motivated. Reaching the quarter-finals would be a massive success for them.”

SCF will be supported by around 3,500 travelling fans at the BWT Stadium am Hardtwald. Yannik Keitel will miss out with the same muscle issue that kept him out of the clash with Dortmund, and there will also be a change to the lineup in goal. Like in the second round against St. Pauli, Noah Atubolu will be between the posts for Streich’s team. “He’s doing well. He’s worked hard and has earned it,” said the head coach on the decision. Streich and Kiliann Sidilla will also be available for the DFB-Pokal game as their suspensions after red cards on the weekend are only valid  for Bundesliga fixtures.

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“It could come down to the wire”

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