Christian Streich paused for a moment. “It’s amazing what we’ve experienced,” said the SC Freiburg coach. Just to add shortly afterwards: “I would like it to stay that way, but it won’t.”

Prank wouldn’t be a prank if he didn’t raise his index finger admonishingly in the midst of the euphoria with which the Freiburg team said goodbye to the World Cup break in the Bundesliga. He wanted to “enjoy” the situation now, he said after the grand finale against Union Berlin (4-1). Then he wanted to “practice not to put too much pressure on yourself because you think it has to stay that way.”

jump to second place

With the jump to second place in the Bundesliga, an incredible year ended for the people of Breisgau. After reaching the DFB Cup final for the first time, the emotional trip to Berlin with tens of thousands of fans and qualifying for the Europa League in the second half of the previous season, many wondered whether SC could maintain this level.

The 23 compulsory games of the current season so far, of which only three were lost, have shown that he can. Freiburg are wintering in both cup competitions, have established themselves as a top team in the league and are going into the new year as Bayern’s number one hunters.

Continuity as a formula for success

The reasons are varied. A word that comes up again and again in the SC success story is continuity. Even “in the difficult times, the relegation battles and bitter defeats, many important people stayed upright,” said Streich. This was the only way to “successively develop things forward”.

The trainer, sports director Jochen Saier, sports director Klemens Hartenbach and finance director Oliver Leki, for example, have been working closely together for many years, but leave their respective fields to their own devices. The chairman of the supervisory board, Heinrich Breit, had never talked to him about football, but he also didn’t want to talk to Breit about finances, said Streich. “It’s a symbol of how work is done here,” emphasized the 57-year-old.

On the pitch, these symbols include long-time top performers such as World Cup driver Christian Günter or midfield driver Nicolas Höfler. They too have evolved, said Streich. “I wish we could freeze them and they wouldn’t age anymore,” he joked. Vincenzo Grifo, who was neither happy in Hoffenheim nor Mönchengladbach, but has now scored (at least) nine goals in the third Bundesliga season in a row at SC, is also one of them. Or central defender Philipp Lienhart.

Newcomers hit

In addition, Ritsu Doan and Michael Gregoritsch, who were committed in the summer, as well as the returned Matthias Ginter, who, like Günter, is traveling to the World Cup with the German national team, have hit the ground running. “We complement each other very well, we’re really good friends off the field,” said Captain Günter at DAZN about the special team spirit in Freiburg.

Who, in interaction with their fans, create an atmosphere that many probably would not have expected after the move from the venerable Dreisam Stadium to the new and less romantic Europa-Park Stadium. “A very, very cool story” is going into the winter break with this sense of achievement, said striker Gregoritsch after the next day of celebrations against Union. If Streich Streich and Freiburg stays on the carpet, there may be a few more nice chapters in the new year.