Streich: 'It's a pity we couldn't transfer one or two goals into the league'

In the joy over the repeated landslide victory in the Europa League, SC coach Christian Streich was already worried on late Thursday evening about having little time to prepare for the Bundesliga match in Mainz.

Streich: 'It's a pity we couldn't transfer one or two goals into the league'
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"The European Cup is for the soul, a wonderful addition, and the Bundesliga is everything for us," Streich emphasized after the 5-0 win against Olympiakos Piraeus. And even though the current ninth place in the table sounds like a secure midfield position, the gap to the relegation spot is only six points, but it's also only five points to the international spots. 

Streich's focus, however, tends to be more downwards. And the players also emphasize that before Christmas, they want to do more than just win the group's final game in the Europa League against West Ham; they also aim to collect as many points as possible in the league.

A year ago, the Sport-Club was in third place in the table with 24 points after twelve matchdays, yet Matthias Ginter does not see such a big difference from last season. The defender emphasized that the points tally - relative to the opponents - is almost identical. This time, Freiburg lost against Stuttgart and Leverkusen - both of whom had a significantly better start to the season than last year - and won against Hoffenheim, after drawing in the last first half of the season. "But last season we didn't look good in Mainz and Wolfsburg, so we're trying to improve our record there," Ginter stressed before the two upcoming away games.

In Mainz, the match ended 1-1 in the second half of the season. A result that probably would not suffice for Freiburg after four winless games (such a series never happened last season). Although they would keep a direct competitor at bay. "Mainz has regained more self-confidence through the coaching change," Ginter said, "we know that we're up against a tough challenge again." The 29-year-old, however, hopes that his team manages "to score more goals than recently in the league". Nonetheless, the Sport-Club has failed to score in eight out of 14 away games in Mainz.

Goal output strong only in the Europa League

In the Europa League, the Sport-Club has scored 17 goals in five games so far, more than any other team. In twelve Bundesliga games, it was 15. "It's a pity we couldn't transfer one or two goals into the Bundesliga," Streich said with a smile. In preparing for the upcoming away game, he noticed that "this season's Mainz team hasn't played as well as now, against Hoffenheim it was outstanding, they had endless chances". He attributed the coaching change from Bo Svensson to Jan Siewert to a limited extent. "Sometimes there's a liberation of some sort, sometimes certain energies emerge, but then you also need the necessary luck," the SC coach knows, "what's crucial is the effect it has when someone has been there for a year and a half or two years."

Only one win in Mainz so far

Mainz has recently "played very offensively, always going straight forward," said Streich. That might even suit Freiburg. "Maybe it suits us a bit more when opponents also want to play," Ginter speculated after the 5-0 win against Piraeus. This season, Freiburg has only lost against the top five teams in the league. However, the record in Mainz is not good overall. The SC has only won once in Mainz on matchday 18 of the 2019/20 season.

But Mainz should not hope that Freiburg will be arrogant in the league on Sunday after the euphoria of the European Cup, Streich explained: "We take a certain self-confidence with us, can do certain things well if we implement them well. We are stable, and have a top team in terms of character - so I am not worried." And also, personnel-wise, things are looking up again. Roland Sallai and Merlin Röhl had short stints on Thursday after their injuries, and Ritsu Doan, who was substituted due to a knock, should be available again.