In the end, captain Christian Günter from SC Freiburg was overwhelmed with pride and the great desire to repeat what he had experienced on the European stage.

“It was fun to play at the highest level, to play in other countries and to play during the week,” said the national soccer player after the 0: 2 (0: 1) in the round of 16 second leg of the Europa League against Juventus Turin .

The chances of being able to travel through Europe again in the coming season are good. In the Bundesliga, the Breisgauers are in fifth place. They could also qualify as a quarter-finalist via the DFB Cup. “We have to step on the gas again and get our points,” said Günter, referring to the match on Sunday (7.30 p.m. / DAZN) at FSV Mainz 05.

Praise from coach Streich

The sports club gained courage because it acted on an equal footing against the favorites. Freiburg made the Italian record champions falter, emanated more goal danger than in the past few weeks and gained even more sympathy with their courageous performance. Despite being eliminated, they were celebrated by the vast majority of the 33,420 fans for a long time after the final whistle.

Coach Christian Streich also praised the performance. “It was my personal wish: no matter what happens and no matter how it is, my players should just keep going and work through everything and give Juventus a big fight,” said Streich. “The manner was just great and you always had the feeling that if we scored something unbelievable could happen.”

Armed against Mainz?

But the goals came on the other side. A much-discussed handball by Manuel Gulde, who also received a yellow-red card for it, resulted in a penalty. Dusan Vlahovic converted, although the penalty was not taken well (45th minute). Substitute Federico Chiesa scored the final score in added time. Argentina’s world champion Ángel Di Maria, who decided the first leg with his goal to make it 1-0, did not play.

Streich found it difficult to return the focus to day-to-day business. “I don’t really want to talk about Sunday,” he said and then did: “Mainz will attack us and come with a brutal force.” But the people of Freiburg are prepared. They’ve proven that enough this season.