Bundesliga minnows SC Freiburg are in contention for a Champions League spot, but coach Christian Streich is already planning next season’s relegation battle as his players are lured away by bigger clubs.
With four games to play, Freiburg travel to newly crowned champions Bayern Munich tomorrow knowing a point would keep them in contention for a qualification round spot for Europe’s elite club competition.
Freiburg have created their own little miracle this season, playing an exciting brand of soccer to climb to fifth, a point behind Schalke 04 who occupy the final Champions League spot.
Streich took over in December 2011 and quickly turned the outfit into one of the most exciting to watch, staying true to his motto that “soccer should be fun.”
There are not many things in soccer that make Streich happy these days despite the prospect of European action next season, a rarity for Freiburg.
Bigger clubs have been swooping on the sleepy southwestern German town, snatching player after player for next term.
Leading scorer Max Kruse has already signed for Borussia Moenchengladbach, while attacking midfielder Jan Rosenthal has joined Eintracht Frankfurt.
Sports director Dirk Dufner joined Hannover 96, while Daniel Caligiuri is linked with a move to VfL Wolfsburg and fellow midfielder Johannes Flum is seen joining Frankfurt. Teenager Matthias Ginter could also be on his way out.
“I am already thinking about how I can get a team together to stay in the top division next season,” Streich said.
Bayern clinched the title weeks ago and with a Champions League second leg at Barcelona next week coach Jupp Heynckes is expected to rest several key players.
However, the Bavarians will be looking to set a new points record for a season after equalling the best mark of 81 points last week.