As the Bundesliga leaders, SC Freiburg goes into a duel with Karabakh Agdam. Coach Streich warns before the start of the Europa League, however. After all, Azerbaijan's champions are international regulars - and the sports club is rich in less than pleasant experiences.
Freiburg (dpa / lsw) - Christian Streich cannot understand that many football fans still don't really have Karabakh Agdam on their screens. "There's a team that plays the Europa League or Champions League every year. Some obviously don't get it - strangely enough," said the SC Freiburg coach one day before the duel with the Azerbaijani champions on Thursday (9 p.m. / RTL). The opponent has players with "right skills" and a "tactically very good team". He expects "a game at eye level," said the 57-year-old prank. "If we play a really good game, we can be over it."
This time, Freiburg feel much better prepared - and probably are. "Nine years ago the situation was completely different," Streich emphasized in retrospect. In the meantime, the squad is much broader and better positioned than it was then. "We now also have a lot of national players who know the rhythm," said offensive man Vincenzo Grifo with a view to the English weeks that are now beginning. In addition, the most recent victories against Bochum (1-0) and in Leverkusen (3-2), in which luck was also involved, showed how solid the SC team is at the moment.
Nevertheless, despite all the anticipation, caution is also required. "We approach it with great respect," said the 29-year-old Grifo about the duel with Agdam, which almost made it into the Champions League and eliminated the Swiss champions FC Zurich in the premier class qualification. Of course there are better-sounding names and of course "the Champions League is the crème de la crème," says Grifo. "But we are glad that we can play internationally and show ourselves on this stage."
That wasn't always the case with Bundesliga clubs. Less money, less glamour, less greed. For a long time, most of the appearances of German teams in the Europa League could be described quite well with this rule of three. Eintracht Frankfurt, however, has recently celebrated many festivals there and even celebrated the title last season - and noticeably upgraded the little sister of the Champions League in public perception. "It was a lot of fun" for him to see the Hessians perform, reported Grifo. He and his Freiburg team now want to write their own success stories in Europe. A win against Karabakh Agdam at the start would certainly help.