Christian Streich looked a bit surprised when he was asked at the training camp how he was going to compensate for the loss of at least four regular players. A resigned or even angry statement about the injustice of the world, he was not elicited. “Of course the situation doesn’t make me happy,” said Streich, 55, tanned and in a good mood instead. It seems as if the longest-serving coach in the league has long since worked out the calmness not to complain about things he cannot change. And it has always been part of the Freiburg concept to train promising talents or to buy them cheaply and then sell them again at high prices after they have been refined.
Like Luca Waldschmidt (at Benfica Lisbon) and Robin Koch this summer, whose move to Premier League promoted Leeds United was officially confirmed on Saturday evening. Both are in the squad of national coach Löw next week for the Nations League games against Spain and Switzerland, both continue the current exodus of national players from the Bundesliga, which Timo Werner started recently and Kai Havertz (also FC Chelsea?) Is likely to continue.
Waldschmidt came from the Hamburger SV bank in 2018, where there was not much to do with him. Koch, son of the old Minipli warrior Harry Koch, moved from the then second division club 1. FC Kaiserslautern to Baden in 2017. In Freiburg, the market value of both has quadrupled, and together they bring in around 30 million euros. Janik Haberer, who is also moving away, could also flush many millions into the cash register. Added to this are the seven million euros that Hertha BSC pays for goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow, who was trained in his own youth.
The goalkeeper position also shows that it is no coincidence that the SC repeatedly develops regular players and thus achieves transfer surpluses that he needs to survive. Freiburg, for example, scouts more thoroughly and for longer than many of its competitors. Mark Flekken, who is to take on Schwolow’s legacy, has been observed again and again since he came to the second team of SpVgg Fürth for a few regional league appearances in 2013. Benjamin Uphoff, who was brought in by Karlsruher SC, was also very impressed in the spring when sports director Klemens Hartenbach told him how he had seen his performance in the 2015/2016 season at the Stuttgarter Kickers game against the second team of VfB Stuttgart.
However, the goalkeeper position is likely to be the smallest worry in the tinkering work that still needs to be done before a Bundesliga-compatible first team will be on the field again in the away game at VfB Stuttgart at the start of the season on September 19. Without Waldschmidt, without Koch, without Schwolow, without Mike Frantz, who went to Hannover 96. And maybe even without Haberer. But certainly with Nils Petersen, who claims that he has “got used to coming and going here for a long time. I think every summer: which clubs we could leave behind. And then I’ll be happy when I find three” . After all these years at SC, he has “great confidence in the people involved that a good replacement will come”, says the eleven-time goalscorer last season: “We can hardly spend as much as we earn.”
In fact, the question arises what the sports club is doing with the 30 or 40 million euros that must have already been booked. A couple went for attacker Ermedin Demirovic, 22, who was triggered at FC St. Gallen. A few additions are likely to come, the search is on for robust staff for the midfield and the Waldschmidt position. In the still overheated industry, a double-digit million amount should quickly come about, especially since the consultants know that the SC currently has a big plus in the account.