The Bundesliga and most other major leagues have already started, but the Germans are already in need of a water break. No it’s not because of the temperature, but rather a strangely scheduled international break. Fortunately that leaves us enough time to get our second (the first audio one is here) preview of SC Freiburg up. The Breisgau club are back in the Bundesliga having won die Zweite Liga in convincing fashion for the fourth time since 1992-93. Their rich history includes famous players (Jörg Heinrich, Papiss Cissé, Sebastian Kehl, Michael Frontzeck) and managers such as Volker Finke, all time club goalscoare Jogi Löw (yes, that Jogi) or current coach Christian Streich. But enough of the rambling, here to tell you all about Freiburg and so much more is Alicia Altamira from Indonesia!
1.Which league do you follow the most? What are some of the major news, interesting stories that caught your eye in the summer? Did you go to any games in person? Do you have something to rant about as far as the league is concerned?
Without a doubt, the Bundesliga! I also follow the 2. Bundesliga and Frauen (Women’s) Bundesliga to a lesser extent.
This summer, eh? Well, since it’s quite… entertaining to see two bitter rivals exchange players like lovers on Valentine’s Day, I’ll say the Bayern-Dortmund transfer saga caught my eye (aside from “Lord Zlatan buys Manchester United”, “Schweinsteiger retires from the national team”, and “on a related note, Mou moved him to the reserve team on his freaking birthday”.) Especially the one starring Wunderkind-turned-flop (depending on who you ask) Mario Götze. Of all the clubs rumored to buy him, I never thought it would be his hometown club! I have to admit, the guy’s got balls! Let’s just pray the prodigal son won’t be greeted with anything worse than boos from the Yellow Wall. *immediately remembers Willi Orban*
Unfortunately, while I’d love to spend a weekend in Breisgau, my studies have to come first. So the answer is no, but I hope that changes soon…
A rant? About the best league in the world? Nah!
2. How would you describe your team’s summer (transfers, major news, etc) and preparations for the new season?
Before we get to the preseason proceedings, I’m going to scream like a teenage fangirl (don’t judge me, I just became of legal age last year!) because you know, wir sind wieder erste Liga! Not only we got promoted in style (22 wins – including steamrolling Nürnberg in the first matchday and the amazing 4-3 win versus St. Pauli – 6 draws, and 6 losses), we also finished above the Red Bulls! Ain’t that a sweet victory?
Now, it’s great that fan favorites Schuster and Guédé extended their contract by a year (with the former taking on a non-playing role in SCF after retirement); it’s even greater that we finally managed to keep the majority of our key players, like Petersen, Günther, Abrashi, Grifo, and Schwolow.
But of course, like every transfer period, we get some and lose some…
Let’s start from Konstantin Fuhry. The 21-year-old left for Regionalliga side SV Elversberg on a free transfer. Since he’s a young goalkeeper who only appeared for the second team, it’s not that much a loss. Why? Because 1. we have new sponsors (Schwarzwaldmilch and Lotto) to inject us money and 2. we already have Patric Klandt and Rafal Giekiwicz as Schwolow’s backup.
Losing Immanuel Höhn to Darmstadt and Vegar Eggen Hedenstad to St. Pauli (who needs the playing time anyway) would not spell disaster, either. We still have Torrejon, who can play in the back four just fine, and many of the new arrivals are defenders: Manuel Gulde (Karlsruhe), Caglar Soyüncü (Altinordu), and Aleksandar Ignjovski (Frankfurt). They will sure provide good competition for the old players.
But really, we get more than we lose. Freiburg’s attack is as healthy as ever, with added firepower from striker Philipp Zulechner (Young Boys), wingers Onur Bulut (Bochum) and Sebastian Kerk (Nürnberg), and offensive midfielder Janik Haberer (Hoffenheim)… okay, it’s too much. Far too much. I almost think they are planning to offload Frantz or something… hopefully, Herr Streich knows what he’s doing.
On a lighter note, Nils Petersen is in the Olympics national team! He wasn’t on the startelf on the match against Mexico, unfortunately, but I have faith that he’ll fire Germany to the gold medal, if given the chance.
Now on to the preseason: After five friendlies where the Breisgau Brazilians go crazy against lower division clubs, the team spent their training camp in picturesque Schruns, Austria, where they won 2-1 against Turkish side Rizespor.
Their return to Germany was opened with a goalless draw to 1860 Munich, which was pretty meh from start to finish, but then BAM! The Kaiserstuhl Cup!
When Freiburg faced Darmstadt in Bahlingen, Florian Niederlechner shone brighter than the Freiburg sun. The Mainz loanee not only had many chances, but also scored a hattrick in a 3-1 triumph (that last goal in particular was stunning!) It was also a decent first match for new keeper Giekiwicz. While Marc-Oliver Kempf sadly had to be substituted due to a hit to the knee (the official diagnosis will come next Monday), the 2016/17 season seems like it’s going to be pretty rad. With the new additions to our already strong squad, enthusiastic fans, and only a few injuries, I feel like we can, at the very least, finish at lower-midtable… So bring it on, Bundesliga!
3.Season predictions for Top 4, including winner? Who will get relegated?
- Bayern München
- Borussia Dortmund
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Borussia Mönchengladbach
As always, I’m placing Bayern up top.
“But BVB signed so many good players!”
True. But they seem like more of a long-term solution to me. Despite their immense talent, they’ll need to adapt to Dortmund’s system, do they not? So I say they’ll give Bayern one hell of a title race, but it won’t be enough… for this season. Who knows what they can achieve in 2017/18?
- SV Darmstadt 98
- RB Leipzig
Darmstadt is in for a tough time this season. Losing Dirk Schuster, the mastermind who orchestrated their ascent from 3. Liga to the top tier, would be a huge blow. Not to mention the second season syndrome lurking in the background… Sure, Ingolstadt may catch this as well, but they had a better squad in general. Thanks, Audi!
And uh, yeah, the Rote Laterne may or may not be a tongue-in-cheek prediction of a righteous purist… so here’s a correction:
- I’m not sure.
Maybe Werder, Frankfurt, or Hoffenheim will screw up… man, it always sucks to predict the participants of the relegation battle, it’s always been so… unpredictable! And more exciting than Star Wars Episode VII! There’s nothing like a tight fight between clubs with a 10-match losing run versus clubs who we thought would be UEL contenders!
(As Hertha – whom I thought would have to deal with European hangover and massive exodus which can put a stop to their three-year run in the Bundesliga – didn’t make it to the Europa League, I’m betting on their survival.)
- SV Darmstadt 98 (sorry! I swear, I really like you guys!)
4. Which teams/players are you looking forward to watching? Who will be a surprise (player/team) or disappointment?
I’m (almost) all for Dortmund! I’m dying to see how their new signings, especially Götze (I’m a fiction writer too, I’m allowed to be a sucker for narrative!) will fare. Also, Brause RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim. The former has a very young, talented squad who did so brilliant (aside from some hiccups in the last few matchdays), everyone but us parked the bus against them; I have a feeling they can write a football fairytale with the haters’ blood. And the latter? Two words: Julian Nagelsmann.
Disappointment? Hmm. I’m not sure Schürrle still has it in him. Hamburg… I just have a hunch their management will drag them down again. And I know it kinda contradicts my top four table, but perhaps Leverkusen and Schalke will, uh, do a Leverkusen and Schalke… pessimisstic, yes, but not unfounded, amirite?
5. Who will win these awards: player of the year and top scorer? Other relevant awards you care about?
I said it first: Nils Petersen will win the Ballon D’Or.
Because I like Alex Meier, I shall predict/pray he keeps his scoring boots on. And of course, Lewy and Auba will shine again!
6. Anything else that is on your mind? Where can people find you online?
I tweet on @freibulous72.
You can find more footie stuff on instagram.com/freibulous_ (art) and http://archiveofourown.org/works/2308157/chapters/5078894(Bundeslihaha: Where Fussball Meets Fun, my humorous retelling of footballing events.)