As part of our season preview, we will be profiling all 18 clubs in the Bundesliga, and how we think they will fair during the coming season. Today, we will be focusing on SC Freiburg.
It was a pretty good season for promoted teams last season. RB Leipzig finished second and grabbed all the headlines but Freiburg’s rise to seventh place and a Europa League-berth might even be more impressive given their limited funds.
The Breisgauer played a fantastic season after being pegged as one of the candidates to get relegated last summer. Christian Strich proved his magic once again and with the well-known Freiburg-formula of trusting mostly young academy graduates and unknown players that they got on the cheap, Freiburg played some refreshing football that kept them clean of the relegation zone.
You could make the argument that Freiburg got lucky on a few occasions with their results, given that they had a terrible goal difference (-18) despite finishing so high in the table. Nevertheless they got the results when they needed them and with several of the “big names” like Leverkusen, Schalke and Wolfsburg struggling they more than earned their spot in Europe.
- Pascal Stenzel - 4€ million
- Florian Niederlechner - 2.3€ million
- Bartosz Kapustka - Loan (0.5€ million)
- Philipp Lienhart - Loan (0.5€ million)
- Maximilian Philipp - 20€ million
- Vincenzo Grifo - 6€ million
- Sebastian Kerk - 0.5€ million
- Havard Nielsen - 0.4€ million
- Marc Torrejon - Free transfer
- Fabian Menig - Free transfer
That transfer window does not look very good. Yes they currently have a big plus in terms of income but they lost their two best players with Philipp and Grifo, one of them for below market value because of a release clause, and the only real money they spent was on two players that were already on loan with them last season.
Kapustka will have to single handedly replace the creativity that Freiburg lost with Grifo and Philipp and they will probably need to pull out a new Bundesliga-ready player out of their academy if they want to stay competitive.
Remember the aforementioned spot in Europe?
Well it’s already gone. Freiburg lost in the 3rd round of the Europa League qualifications against Slovenian club NK Domzale (1:0, 0:2). While this is disappointing it might also be a blessing in disguise, they will miss out on the additional money from international football but their squad is already very thin, the added pressure of European football might have doomed them from the beginning.
They managed to hold on to some of their breakout players from last season like Caglar Söyüncü, Marc Oliver Kempf and Janik Haberer. The center back combination of Söyüncü and Kempf will need to approve their top form from last season to keep the defense together. In addition they will look to Nils Petersen, the ex-Bayern player and fan-favorite, to lead this incredibly young team.
PREDICTION: 17th Place
The quality just isn’t there. Since Darmstadt and Ingolstadt have been replaced by the likes of Hannover and Stuttgart, you could make the argument that this is the strongest the Bundesliga has ever been from top to bottom.
The Bundesliga is a pretty chaotic league if you leave out Bayern and Dortmund (and possibly Leipzig now) so everything can happen but realistically this will be a tough season for Freiburg. You could make the argument that they have on paper by far the weakest squad of the entire league. Coach Streich will work his magic and I’m sure they will once again catch a few teams by surprise but in the end this will be a battle to stay in the league from day 1.