Back during the 2010/2011 season, a 22-year-old rising star fired 25 goals in 33 league matches for Bundesliga 2 side Energie Cottbus and earned a move to a resurgent Bayern Munich side intent on winning back the Bundesliga. Despite scoring a hat-trick on his (unofficial) debut against Trentino, and scoring in the 7-0 demolition of his current club, he never quite settled in Bavaria. Petersen himself says he does not regret his decision to move to the German giants, but he was soon moved on to Werder Bremen where after initial success the striker fell out of favour.
In their fight to survive in the top division last season, SC Freiburg took a gamble on the now 26-year-old Petersen, bringing him to the Black Forest on loan after his two and half seasons with Die Grün-Weißen . The winter-break gamble was an immediate success. Coming on as a half-time substitute he scored another debut hat-trick at the expense of Eintracht Frankfurt, and later in the season scored the sweetest of winners vs the club who jilted him, the champions Bayern Munich. But nine goals in twelve appearances for his new club were not enough to save them from relegation to the second tier.
And yet, Petersen’s impressive goal tally was enough to earn him a permanent move to the team from Breisgau. After years spent on the sidelines, the striker will now be tasked with firing Freiburg back into the big time in the same way he managed with Energie Cottbus. And my word did he start this task with some aplomb, on his permanent debut you won’t be surprised to hear he notched another treble in the 6-3 opening win over 1.FC Nürnburg. And this five minute blitz made history as the fastest ever hat-trick in the Bundesliga 2.
It was certainly a brave decision to drop down a division when there was the possibility of a more lucrative contract in the Bundesliga. With Franco Di Santo moving on to Schalke he could have battled it out with Anthony Ujah for a starting berth at Die Werderaner. But returning to the league where he made his name could prove to be a masterstroke for Freiburg, as at 26 the East German born striker will be entering the peak years of his career. In turn it is difficult to shake the notion that in what is essentially his make or break season, the striker will be out to impress.
But does his long-term future lie at the Schwarzwald-Stadion? While not quite Christian Vieri in journeyman status, the German has hardly led the most settled of careers. And one gets the impression that should Freiburg miss out on promotion this season then he will look to move on. Should they seal their return however, then a striker of Nils’ ability could help to keep them in the top flight if given the chance of a starting berth.
The goalscoring record for the club is held by none other than Germany boss Joachim Löw, who managed 81 goals in 252 games. But if he decides to stay at the club and continue with his current goalscoring rate, then who’s to say he could not break that record? While that may be sheer speculation, one thing that is for sure is that if Freiburg are to make an immediate return to the top flight, then the striker will be vital to their chances.
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- Has Nils Petersen finally found his home with SC Freiburg? - July 29, 2015