July 27, 2017

Breisgau Bulletin: Verbeek and Bochum Down Streich and Freiburg

On Saturday SC Freiburg were looking to keep the perfect start to their Bundesliga 2 season going as they hosted one VfL Bochum, but instead of ending the day on nine points they ended the day with nine players on the pitch en route to a 1-3 defeat in front of a sold out crowd at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. All the scoring took place in the 2nd 45 – shortly after Mensur Mujdža was sent off for his 2nd yellow card, Onur Bolut opened the scoring for the visitors. Simon Terodde tacked a brace before Marc Torrejón scored a consolation goal before seeing a straight red for dangerous play. The loss saw Die Breisgauer sink to 5th in the table while Bochum, maintaining their perfect league record, ended the weekend at the league’s summit.

Match Recap

SCF manager Christian Streich made only one change to the squad that defeated 1860 München two weeks previous (and well a bunch of changes from the squad that demolished HSV Barmbek-Uhlenhorst in the DFB Pokal a week prior) and it was forced upon him as Maximilian Philipp was unfit due to an illness. Philipp’s place in the lineup was covered by utility man Mike Frantz who shifted across the field while Vegar Eggen Hedenstad was inserted to play on the right side of midfield as he did in the Pokal.

At the risk of over-simplifying things, the match essentially turned on Mujdža’s sending off. After an innocuous 1st caution (I am being intentionally vague because for the life of me I don’t remember what it was for) the right back was cautioned a 2nd time for what appeared to be an elbow to the face of Terodde. I suppose jockeying for position lies within the eye of the beholder and referee Sippel didn’t quite see it that way. With the score at 0-0 and his down a man Christian Streich brought on Mats Møller-Dæhli for Hedenstad, presumably to keep Bochum on the back foot as Freiburg, on the balance of play until then, had been the better side. However the substitution would prove costly.

Instead of keeping Hedenstad, a natural right back, on the pitch, Streich instructed Mike Frantz to fill in for the now showering Mujdža. Frantz was unable to prevent Marco Terrazino from getting a ball into the box and the cross wasn’t effectively dealt with which allowed Bolut to lob a rather fortunate effort over Alexander Schwolow in the 65th minute. Bochum could then sit back and absorb the pressure and hit back on the counter. Five minutes later Timo Perthel took the ball from in his own half and beat Frantz down the right flank his cross was nodded down by Bolut to Terodde who smashed past Schwolow. Five minutes past that Terodde hit a long-range effort into the goal effectively ending the match before Torrejón hit a missile into the top corner completely out of nowhere.

If only that were the most memorable Torrejón moment of the match, as he too was given his marching orders after Sippel judged his boot to have come into contact up high on Perthel. Replays showed that there wasn’t a whole lot of contact, perhaps with the midsection if at all, but dangerous play is dangerous play and Torrejón’s night ended (slightly) earlier than most.

The match was incredibly indicative of some alarming trends that have plagued Freiburg (non-cup and non Nürnberg matches aside) in the recent past – including last season. The team is incredibly wasteful in front of goal. Nils Petersen, that guy with all of Freiburg’s goals this year, wasted at least a pair of golden opportunities to put SCF in the driver’s seat in the first half. Instead, Bochum hung around and later capitalized on their chances later in the match, somewhat aided by the numerical advantage of course. Freiburg were also afforded more than a few offensive set piece situations as Bochum were fouling early and often but the quality was definitely lacking. Some of the more “training ground” type set pieces really should have stayed there.

Compounding the attacking woes was a complete lack of strong wing play which was naturally going to decline with the departures of Admir Mehmedi and Felix Klaus in the summer transfer window, especially seeing as there were no direct replacements found for them. Vincenzo Grifo was drifting out wide to try to create but his strength is his directness and dribbling, and might be best suited playing just off of the main striker. There are still a few more weeks of the open transfer window and a winger should be on top of Streich’s shopping list.

Additionally when Freiburg are pressed in possession, they often lose all creative instinct and hoof hopeful long passes that are almost always dealt with. While not a true counter-attacking side, Freiburg are at their best when they involve the midfield players in the attacking buildup. Bypassing them altogether is going to make for a long day at the office. Bochum, to their credit, were very good at this on the weekend.

Streich’s Take

On the match:
“It was a contested, but clean game of two technically good teams. Therefore, it is a pity that the game then gets unraveled through such interference (of the sending off of Mujdža), and a team is favored such.”

On his club’s performance:
“In the past week, we’ve had players who were sick or injured who have only now recovered. It is clear that it would be difficult as the match wore on.”

On Gertjan Verbeek:

That Damned Verbeek

Of course this match summary wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Bochum manager. For those who may have forgotten, Verbeek, when manager of FC Nürnberg took umbrage with Christian Streich following Freiburg’s 3-2 defeat of Der Club in a critical match late in the 2013-14 season. In his own words:

“When you see how he (Streich) has insulted me, it is outrageous, brutal and disrespectful!”

After boycotting the post-match press conference, Verbeek said:

“I will not sit next to such a colleague. I do not consider this a colleague, he was acting like a crazy person every time something didn’t go his way.”

At the press conference, Streich expressed confusion as to Verbeek’s absence, saying that while he can be emotional on the sidelines, none of it was directed directly at Verbeek. Streich was indeed taken aback at Verbeek’s allegations saying that they hit him very hard. He also alluded to having to hold his tongue when Verbeek was sacked as Nürnberg manager.

For what it is worth in his pre-match interviews the Bochum man played down the feud with his counterpart, indicating that this is Bochum vs. Freiburg and not Verbeek vs. Streich. Streich for his part didn’t say much, if anything, in terms of this rivalry either pre or post match, perhaps channeling the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all” mantra. But you can surely bet that the result wasn’t the only thing bothering Herr Streich Saturday.

Transfer News:

It was announced today that Serbian International defender Stefan Mitrović will be joining the Belgian champions KAA Ghent on a season long loan with an option to buy. There was no mention of any fee or future fee should the club exercise the buy clause. This leaves SC Freiburg incredibly thin at centre back, especially given the suspension situation with Marc Torrejón.

While not a central defender, there are rumours that there are multiple 2-Bundesliga teams looking to acquire the services of wantaway winger Zoltán Stieber of HSV. Given Freiburg’s weakness on the flanks, it might not be a bad option to consider an offer on the Hungarian especially given that he’s got some top flight experience in Germany.

Up Next

This weekend’s match involves a trip to the Esprit Arena and a date with winless Fortuna Düsseldorf. Christian Streich will only have two players unavailable for selection, the aforementioned Mujdža and Torrejón both serving suspensions for their transgressions in the Bochum match, which could open the door for young Jonas Föhrenbach to make his league debut.

Immer wieder vor, SC Freiburg vor!

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Born in Toronto, Adrian is a first generation Canadian by way of Bavaria and the Black Forest. After some intense football soul searching he's now a fully fledged member of the Church of Streich. Follow @AdrianSertl