Petersen scores as SCF win final home game


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This Friday night saw lots of beautiful endings: a final home game of this fantastic season, the final day for legendary stadium announcer Claus Köhn, and one last home game for Nils Petersen and Jonathan Schmid at the Europa-Park Stadion. As Petersen stepped onto the pitch, coming off the bench around the 70-minute mark as he so often has done, the fans rolled out a banner across the entire Südtribüne, reading: “Nobody is bigger than a club – but you got damn close”. Just five minutes later, the stadium erupted in a beautiful, poetic celebration.

Schmid and Petersen both started as substitutes, and were commemorated ahead of kick-off for their service to the club. Meanwhile, their teammates set up in a 3-4-3 formation, with Roland Sallai and Noah Weißhaupt acting as wing-backs behind Vincenzo Grifo and Ritsu Doan respectively. A hectic opening few minutes saw Maxi Eggestein, Grifo and Lucas Höler make the first attacking forays. The Wolves, who are also fighting for a place in European competition, made one change to the side which started their 2-1 win over Hoffenheim last time out: Yannick Gerhardt replaced Matthias Svanberg.

Big block denies Grifo opener

A day after the clubs’ two women’s teams met in the women’s DFB-Pokal final, the 33,300 in attendance at the Europa-Park Stadion were brought to the edge of their seats after 24 minutes. Grifo latched onto a ball into the penalty area and was almost one-on-one with Koen Kasteels. Almost, because Sebastiaan Bournauw sprinted back to take the ball off the Italian international’s toe. Three minutes later, Philipp Lienhart flashed a low shot past the post from 25 yards. “We desperately wanted to be up for our last home game of the season and show our presence, for the fans who support us so passionately,” said Christian Streich following the final whistle.

SCF had two shots on goal to VfL’s nine in the first half. If Nicolas Höfler was not in the right place at the right time, Niko Kovac’s team might have taken the lead in the 41st minute, as Patrick Wimmer’s square ball landed at the feet of the midfielder rather than the prowling Felix Nmecha.

German international Nmecha also had the first attacking action of note after the break, but his deflected effort was wide of Mark Flekken’s goal. There were no substitutions from either coach at the interval.

Petersen with the poetic moment

Freiburg were also unable to rely on their strengths from dead balls, as the ball just did not seem to want to go into the net. Matthias Ginter, Sallai and Höfler were all unable to finish their chances. It needed a bit of gold dust for the deadlock to break.

With 20 minutes to go, ‘Fußballgott’ Pedersen made his way onto the pitch. It was as though his presence unlocked something, as seconds later, fellow substitute Christian Günter had an attempt from 20 yards which flew into the net via a deflection – what a time to score his first goal of the season!

“We’ve had some annoying things over the last two weeks. The way the lads pressed forward really reflected that,” said a relieved and delighted Streich in his post-match press conference. “Everything went well, against a very good Wolfsburg team. Then we forced a bit of luck with the deflected shot, and everything came together as it often does.”

The story of the season was what came together perfectly, as just four minutes after captain Günter’s goal, Petersen tapped home a precise cut-back from Sallai to send the celebrations into overdrive. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Petersen cemented his place as SCF’s record goalscorer and the highest-scoring substitute in Bundesliga history. He could have even gone one better: with 80 minutes gone, he nodded in for a second, but referee Bastian Dankert spoiled the fun by disallowing the goal for an apparent foul in the build-up. Jonathan Schmid was also able to get some final minutes as an SCF player at home, as the final whistle went on a near-perfect end to the campaign at home.

It was not fully perfect, though, as Dankert once more tried to put a dampener on events; he gave Höfler a straight red card for a foul on Luca Waldschmidt in midfield, but that did not stop the post-match celebrations. The party lasted a good 40 minutes in front of the Südtribüne and on the pitch. The fans celebrated the stellar careers of Petersen and Schmid, as well as their own exceptional performance and their club’s feat of earning European football for the second season in a row, 30 years after the club were first promoted to the Bundesliga.

Photo: Achim Keller


Petersen scores as SCF win final home game

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