II took a little fortune but little of it, except for a fortune Bayer Leverkusen Persuasion, complain. Ultimately, Freiburg took the lead in a thrilling five-goal game at BayArena on Saturday, a scenario that seemed a long way off in the first half. Their coach Christian Streiche described it as a “lucky win” with characteristic frankness.
Did not matter. Freiburg returns to European competition this week for the top Bundesliga. They’ve only been there once before, after the 4-0 win over Stuttgart on the opening day of 2000-2001, so whether you can even calculate that this is up for debate. Streich said after the match that he was undoubtedly unfazed by this fleeting moment in First Division either. “I’m not interested in that,” he told Sky. “Everything is going well at the moment – so well that we are happy with the teams in some of these matches.”
However, close-range winner Ritsu Duan sees his side at the top of Borussia Dortmund’s goal difference after five games, in a season that has already heard more talk of ways to make the Bundesliga a competitive title race after Bayern Munich. An ominous start to 15 goals in their three opening victories, and that’s worth celebrating.
For those of you who are hoping the coach and club can turn their heart to Leicester, Streich pushed the mind in that direction by going to Claudio Ranieri in his post-match press conference. Far from lounging in a sunny spot early in the season, the coach talked about avoiding making relegation his top priority in the domestic season. “In a year where we are playing in Europe, it is about playing some matches in European competition and staying in them Freiburg In the Bundesliga,” said Streiche. “If that happens, it will be a good year. And I’m totally serious about that.”
He has a point to some extent. Their last European campaign, in 2013-2014, saw their run, as would be expected from a club of modest size. They finished 14th, a dip from the top five in the previous semester that landed them in Europe in the first place. Strych can remember that because he was there. During the mid-season break, the longest-serving Bundesliga coach will be 11 years old and is the sole head coach of the first team. The son of a butcher who made it so easy to join the Bundesliga bench is something to be proud of.
In the lead up to this game, Streich once again showed how different he is, as one of the few characters in the elite game not to complain about the penalties schedule in the next few months. He smiled, “There are worse things for me.” “We have worked for him and for us it is my absolute pleasure.” For all his fortitude, Freiburg was no longer just a brave underdog. Having moved into their Europa Park stadium last year, they are going places.
If anything on the pitch confirmed the club’s move to a higher level, it was the return of Matthias Ginter. Others have returned before – Jonathan Schmid and Vincenzo Griveaux, for example – but usually after failing to restore magic elsewhere. World Cup-winning defender Ginter is a little different. After leaving Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach paid €17 million to take him in in 2017. The player had other options on his departure this summer, and although there was a sense in his decision to join, he would not have come had he not believed in the club’s team. Ambition. Still only 28 years old, he has a lot of good years ahead of him.
If Ginter’s homecoming is to have his career come full circle, it feels like a symbolic moment and important for the coach and the club as well. Considering his debut by Streich in January 2012 after turning 18, Ginter scored a late winner in a relegation battle with Augsburg which constituted a platform for a great escape; A calling card for the teenager that also launched the legend of Streich, the initially reluctant coach who is now club and national. After Leverkusen’s strong showing in the first half, with Karim Demirbay’s meager goal rewarding his dominance, Ginter put it back on, launching himself between two defenders to equalize with a header. Although Leverkusen’s newcomer Callum Hudson-Odoi later gave his side a second blow, setting Patrick Schech to equalize 2-2 soon after he came in, Freiburg and Duane had an answer.
“I will only stay as long as I am able to stay as I am,” Streiss insisted shortly after Freiburg was handed relegation in 2012. There were tricky moments, like relegation on the final day in 2015, although Streich got the club back into the top flight on the first try. Sometimes you wish he could put his feet up for a second and enjoy the sunshine. he deserves it. While there are things that can be fixed in the Bundesliga, changing Christian Streiche is not among them.
The big match that took place in Berlin between the first two teams at the start of the game, Union and Bayern, did not disappoint, as Sheraldo Becker lit up the blue touching paper with an aerial shot past Manuel Neuer within 12 minutes. Joshua Kimmich quickly equalized with a rocket of his own, but Julian Nagelsmann’s men couldn’t find the decisive blow, with Etihad goalkeeper Frederic Ronaud and his steady defence. Substitute Jimmy Loehling almost stole it in the last minutes, but Neuer denied it, who praised the skill of the hosts. “They were our strongest opponents so far,” said the Germany goalkeeper.
Another weekend and another one-goal victory for Borussia Dortmund, who beat Hoffenheim on Friday night thanks to Marco Reus’ goal in the first half. This, though, was more extensive in BVB, with Jamie Bynoe-Gittens losing to a shoulder injury after a collision with Ozan Kabak and not derailing them. The implosion against Werder Bremen It’s starting to look more than an exception as the weeks go by, with Dortmund now having three clean sheets from their first five games. The visiting coach, Andre Breitenreiter, also recognized the gap between the two teams, describing his team as “very sloppy and very negative”.
Two of the Bundesliga’s Champions League entrants warmed up for this week’s European debut in Frankfurt, with Eintracht firing off RB Leipzig 4-0. They were more difficult to run and more decisive at both ends of the field. Randall Kolo Mwane and Mario Gotze have been fantastic again, with team promotions on paper since their Europa League victory now tangible. “Fantastic,” was the simple analysis of Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner. Horrifying, RB Leipzig have a big few weeks, with Shakhtar Donetsk and Dortmund fast through with a trip to Real Madrid.
Werder Bremen is back again, scoring two goals in the final five minutes in Bochum to win – both from Niklas Volkrug, a confirmed header and one from the penalty spot after an Ole Burke foul. Their late goals are already a record, as no team has ever scored five goals in stoppage time after five games, as noted by kicker Tim Luddyk.
Marco Richter secured Hertha’s first win of the season in Augsburg, with his stoppage-time goal in Berlin’s 2-0 win just 55 days after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. “It’s great to have him back with us,” said enthusiastic coach Sandro Schwartz.