September 21, 2017

Mats Møller Dæhli – Another diamond in the rough for Freiburg?

SC Freiburg trainer Christian Streich is looking for history to repeat itself as he prepares for the Bundesliga Rückrunde to get underway in a weeks’ time. Back in the 2011/12 season the Breisgau Brazilians sat bottom of the table going into the winter break, only to drag themselves to safety. Once again they find themselves propping up the table and Streich has to work his magic once again.

In summing up the weaknesses of his side from the first half of the season, the trainer hit the nail squarely on the head when he said, “We created too few chances and of the ones we did, we didn’t convert enough of them”.

Realising something had to improve, the club have used the transfer window to strengthen those two areas. Striker Nils Petersen has come in on loan from Werder, whilst Freiburg are hoping that Norwegian youngster Mats Møller Dæhli can provide the ammunition.

The 19-year-old has been on the Freiburg radar for a while now and having fallen out of favour at English Championship side Cardiff City, the Bundesliga strugglers have finally got their man. And what they have got is a youngster very keen for a new start and a chance to convert the huge potential he has shown.

Handed a contract by Manchester United on his 17th birthday, Dæhli impressed with the U-18 side alongside Adnan Januzaj. Indeed it was the Norwegian, who was voted Player of the Year the season he played with the Belgian and he who won the ‘Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year’ award in his first season at United (previous winners include Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes).

In 2013 United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær bought him back to Norway when he signed him for Molde (although the English giants are believed to have stipulated a buy-back clause in the deal). Solskjær then signed the midfielder again when he took over at Cardiff, although the pair were unable to save the Welsh side from being relegated from the Premier League last season.

Nevertheless, Freiburg have signed a very gifted midfielder, who is comfortable playing any attacking role behind the strikers- be that on the wing or more centrally. His possesses an array of tricks and skills, and is not averse to the odd step-over or four and thinks nothing of trying to beat three defenders at a

time. He has the ability to make the ball appear glued to his feet and his confidence to attack and take players on makes him stand out. He has the ability to add goals to his attacking repertoire, although his goal scoring stats don’t really stand out.

As to where Møller Dæhli will fit in at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, very much depends on whether trainer Christian Streich keeps faith with his favoured 4-4-2 system. The Norwegian is likely to be used in one of the two wide areas, which would impact on the game time given to Frenchman Jonathan Schmid or Felix Klaus.

Adnan Januzaj has certainly made the step up from promising youngster at Manchester United and Christian Streich and the Freiburg fans will be hoping that Mats Møller Dæhli can do the same for them and provide the spark to lift them out of the Bundesliga danger zone.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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