Nine wins, eleven draws, six defeats – an impressive track record against Hoffenheim. Freiburg have even come out on top in four of their last five away games against TSG in the league and cup, with the fifth ending in a draw. It makes sense as to why the away fans’ ticket allocation of 3,000 is completely sold out, and there are likely going to be even more SC fans around the ground.
The same question will be posed to both teams as before every other opening matchday: Are the team in good shape, and how do the opposition compare? How well are the new signings being integrated into the squad? Christian Streich explained where the focus lies on the first game of the season: “We haven’t had a match for a few weeks, and every team starts with zero points. We want to get the ball rolling immediately and increase our points tally as much as possible. The start of the season is always a bit tense, but if we start strong and maintain a high morale, this should soon ease off.”
Fellow coach Pellegrino Matarazzo is already clear on the qualities present within SC’s squad: “When you finish near the top of the Bundesliga for several years, you’re definitely regarded as one of the elite clubs. They are a very experienced group who immediately punish the opposition’s mistakes. We’re prepared for a very intense match.”
Christian Streich is feeling optimistic prior to the start of the Bundesliga and is satisfied with how his players performed in pre-season: “Our boys showed excellent quality in training yesterday, despite it being 31 degrees. I’ve noticed that they’ve kept on improving and now have tunnel vision on the game. They are extremely focused.” The coaching team will have to replace Nicolas Höfler from the squad for the Pokal game against SV Oberachern, who was sent off in the last home game of the 22/23 season against VfL Wolfsburg. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Max Rosenfelder will also be absent, alongside Junior Adamu, who was able to partake in team training for the first time this week.
Streich is hopeful that the players can be focused on the task at hand from the moment the match kicks off. “I expect us to step onto the pitch and instantly make life difficult for Hoffenheim.” The coach is under the impression that Hoffenheim have strengthened their squad considerably and have not experienced any bad luck with injuries so far. “They always had issues with injuries over the past few years. Pavel Kaderabek has recovered, as have Andrej Kramaric and Grischa Prömel. They’ve brought in Wout Weghorst which enables them to put a cross in from anywhere. Their flexibility within the squad will certainly make this a tough game for us.”
Photo: SC Freiburg