Category Archives: SC Freiburg

DFB Pokal 2. Runde Auslosung 2017/18 – Stefan Kuntz

I love watching draws no matter what competition they’re for but there were three very important reasons why today’s draw for the second round of the DFB Pokal would be extra fun. Firstly Freiburg are still in the competition, secondly the team I want them to avoid in the second round (Sandhausen) are out and thirdly Stefan Kuntz did the draw today. The latter gave me the excuse to take some nice screenshots and to add them into this post.

As far as who I wanted Freiburg to get there wasn’t any team in particular, it was more a question of who I wanted them to avoid. The aforementioned Sandhausen are no longer a concern after having being knocked out in the first round by Schweinfurt. Sandhausen knocked Freiburg out in the second round last season, hence my happiness at them losing in the previous round. In a twist of fate Freiburg have been drawn with Dynamo Dresden who funnily enough lost 4-0 to Sandhausen on Saturday. I wouldn’t count on Dresden being an easy team to beat but given the other options I’m relieved.

There were four teams left in the pot, Freiburg, Bayern, Dynamo Dresden and RBL. I prayed for it be Dresden and was duly rewarded, maybe Stefan proved to be good luck. Either way I don’t care, Dresden it is. And thank god because today has been cruel enough without getting drawn with Bayern or RBL in the cup. Today saw Tim Kleindienst score his first ever Bundesliga goal, what might have been the winner against Eintracht Frankfurt. At least it was his goal until the new video review system took it away. The first and only 0-0 draw of match-day one and it had to be Freiburg. Next week won’t be a 0-0 draw, you can guarantee that, playing Leipzig is a guarantee that won’t be the case. It’s not a game I’m looking forward to if I’m completely honest but then I’m trying not to think about it. I should think about Stefan instead and how funny and adorable he was today. He’s especially adorable when his old team Kaiserslautern get drawn and he can’t bear to look at who their opposition are, the presenter teases him by saying they might get Bayern. Luckily they avoided that fate, getting drawn with VfB Stuttgart instead which if nothing else will be interesting. By rights Stuttgart shouldn’t be in the second round, Zieler has never saved a penalty, why did now have to the time he finally does it. I so badly wanted Energie Cottbus to beat them and they came close, but it just didn’t work out. It would have been so perfect too, twenty years after they played each other in the final, almost too perfect it seems.

There’s quite a few games in the list I want to see, chief among them Paderborn v Bochum, Wiesbaden v Schalke, Leverkusen v Union Berlin and of course Bremen v Hoffenheim. As for Matze he and Gladbach will be meeting Fortuna Düsseldorf. On paper Gladbach are the obvious favourites but they only just got through the previous round with a narrow 2-1 victory over fourth tier Rot-Weiss Essen. Fortuna have gotten off to a good start this season so I wouldn’t be so quick to make any predictions. It’s ironic given who they knocked out, what fun that would have been, a little bit of history repeating itself. Fortuna knocked out Arminia Bielefeld who in the 2014/15 season actually knocked Gladbach out themselves and went all the way to the semi-finals where they were beaten 4-0 by VfL Wolfsburg. Their goalkeeper at the time was none other than Alexander Schwolow, who was on loan from Freiburg.

Bundesliga Spielpläne für die Saison 2017/18 (SSN live)

As exciting as the prospect of der Klassiker is it’s not the most important game in the calendar this season, not for me anyway. The big one I was looking out for is SC Freiburg v VfB Stuttgart and the reverse of that fixture. When it comes to Stuttgart Freiburg have some unfinished business, namely that 4-1 defeat they suffered at home back in the 2014/15 season. Away they did a little better, drawing 2-2 thanks to Nils Petersen. Jogi was at that game, hopefully he’ll be there this season too, as a sort of good luck charm. I only have to wait until MD10 to see how that game plays out this time around and I won’t have to wait much longer for the other big fixture, the week after Dortmund play Bayern.

MD1 is home to Eintracht Frankfurt, given the results last season that’s not a bad game to start out with. I can’t help but feel a little superstitious about it though, that was the first game in 2014/15, the season they got relegated. It’s certainly a difficult set of opening games, in order; Frankfurt, RBL, Dortmund and then Leverkusen. Still it could be worse, Leverkusen have been handed the unenviable task of facing Bayern on MD1 for the opening Friday night game, just in case new coach Heiko Herlich didn’t already have a big enough task on his hands. Also facing a difficult task is Schalke’s new coach Domenico Tedesco with Schalke playing RBL. Meanwhile newly promoted Stuttgart play Hertha in Berlin (I’m hoping for a Jogi video from that one) and Hannover face Mainz. Another game of huge interest is the Rheinland derby, Gladbach beginning their season against Cologne, now that should be an interesting encounter. Despite (and not because of it) Vincenzo Grifo being a Gladbach player now I’ll be rooting for Cologne, I could never root against Jonas Hector unless I really had to.

As for the end of the season Freiburg get to wrap things up at home this time around, playing host to Augsburg. Something which they haven’t got to do the last three years running, 2014/15 they ended the season in Hannover (the less said about that the better) 2015/16 in the 2. Bundesliga they ended the season as champions but lost 2-1 to Union in Berlin, and 2016/17 in Munich. So that’s a first for me and it’s a  game which is hugely preferable to ending the season in Munich. Instead VfB Stuttgart have the unenviable honours of that. MD34 also offers a most mouth-watering prospect indeed, Hoffenheim v Dortmund. Though it’s hard for me to admit I care about that after Dortmund sacked Thomas Tuchel. If only Matze Ginter were to leave Dortmund then I can stop caring about them at all.

Bundesliga Spielpläne für die Saison 2017/18 (SSN live)

DFB Pokal 1. Runde Auslosung 2017/18

A few weeks ago I decided to watch the Landespokal for no other reason than I couldn’t find anything better to do, I didn’t know Nils Petersen was going to be at Halberstadt’s game in advance. Nor did I know his father was the coach. Halberstadt did indeed qualify for the first round of the DFB Pokal and at the time I commented how great it would be if Freiburg were to be drawn with them.  I didn’t think it would actually happen but it has, not only that but Halberstadt were the third team out of the pot. Even better is the fact newly promoted VfB Stuttgart have been drawn with Energie Cottbus, their opponents from the 1996/97 final which Stuttgart won. The importance of that final being of course Stuttgart’s coach at the time, it being none other than Joachim Löw. Twenty years later and they face each other again. The other game of big interest is SF Dorfmerkingen v RB Leipzig. Two years in a row I’ve watched them get knocked out of the tournament, in the second and first round. It would have been out in the first round twice were it not for the idiot who caused the Osnabruck game to be awarded to Leipzig. Not that it mattered since they got what was coming to them in the second round when they lost 3-0 to Unterhaching.

I just hope getting my wish doesn’t come back to bite me. Seeing Nils at that game was a stroke of luck, let’s hope it doesn’t become a curse. And not only because he’s playing against his father’s team either. Last season he couldn’t play in the first round, he was in Brazil with the Olympic team. In 2015/16 in the first round they played a team from Hamburg and Nils scored not just a hat-trick but four goals. Maybe he can repeat that feat against Halberstadt:

Nils Petersen at Magdeburg v Halberstadt (Landespokal 2016-17)

Should is the Root of all Evil

I’ve been waiting to post something until I was sure I had a subject to write about which wasn’t related to real life in any way. I still don’t have that but today I realised I don’t need to keep waiting. It’s possible to write about real life without it getting too depressing. At least today it is. I’m in sort of a good mood and I’m making the most of it. Freiburg won, I got a Jogi video from the game and with ten packets of stickers left to open I’ve completed 87% of this season’s album. Those things may seem pretty trivial but they are very important to me and I’m no longer worrying if I should be thinking of bigger things or if my interests make me a child. I don’t care anymore.

What I should or shouldn’t like is of no importance to me anymore. I’m not so worried about what other people think of me in that way. Sometimes the right pieces come together at the right time to make you see something and that happened to me this week. The research I’ve been doing for my presentation and the psych appointment being the two pieces in question. One of the things I discovered whilst looking things up was the word autism was first used in 1912 and it used to describe a group of patients who seemed to be isolated and uninterested in the world around them. That was long before autism became a proper diagnosis or even a recognised condition but it wasn’t that far off an accurate description. And I know some people won’t like it but it makes sense to me. I understand why some people will be offended by that because it conjures up the image of the stereotype of autistic people who are living within their own little world and who are unable or uninterested in being a part of the world around them. Thing is I do live in my own little world and I’m not keeping that a secret anymore. I’m not making myself spend time with other people just because I think I’ve had too much alone time. I know what makes me happy and what doesn’t. It really should be that simple but I over complicate it. I have to try and stop doing that.

Like I said it makes sense to me and it was reading all of that combined with what the person I saw said which made me realise something. I wish they’d been blunter, at first they went through the usual but there’s no such thing as normal anyway. Then we got to the real point. I don’t seem normal because I’m not. Any effort I put into trying is a waste of time. It’s an unobtainable dream. And that led to another question, do I even want to be normal?

The past few months I certainly thought I did, now I’m not so certain. One thing I did decide is that I was a lot happier before I started worrying about what other people think I should be doing. I’ve been so worried that I won’t or can’t meet their expectations. And I’ve been worried about what’ll happen when they realise that themselves. Yet I was worrying about completely the wrong thing. What I’m really afraid of is them finding out I have no intention of even trying. Because I really don’t want to be normal or to do any of the things everybody thinks I should want. That’s the secret I’m worried will be exposed. Not only that I can’t pretend to be normal but I don’t actually want to.

I know I said this wasn’t going to be depressing, I didn’t lie, this is far less depressing than the last thing I posted. I’m not debating whether or not I have the right to be alive for one thing. Today I haven’t felt like I’m a waste of space who doesn’t even deserve to consume oxygen. I might feel that way tomorrow or even later tonight if I can’t sleep again. But at least I had this one afternoon free of any such worries. To get back to the point there’s a phrase I came across which I feel fits perfectly, it’s how the Navajo Indians refer to people with autism and such disabilities. They call them perpetual children which I think is a really neat way of putting it.  I can’t explain why exactly, I just really like it.

Nothing has changed between now and the last post I wrote, nothing has been fixed or anything like that. There’s still plenty to be put right and I’m no closer to a solution for the main problem than before. The reason I’m not stressing out over it is because I’ve let myself withdraw into my own little world without worrying if I should or not. There’s that word again, should. They’re right, it can be an insidious and unhelpful word. I have to do what I need and right now that’s run as far as possible from reality.

On the subject of reality there is one thing I have to mention, Freiburg’s win against Schalke today means they’re in fifth place in the table. If they finish in fifth place they’ll be playing Europa League football. I don’t want to think about next season because it feels like tempting fate, both in regards to them and myself. As good a mood as I’m in it still makes me uneasy to think that far ahead, to assume I’ll still be alive then I suppose. In regards to Freiburg it’s not missing out on Europe Im worried about, what’s scaring me is the possiblity they will qualify. I’m not sure they’re ready for such a big step. Last time it pretty much broke them and whilst I’d love them whatever happens – whatever division they play in, I’d rather not have to go through the heartbreak of relegation again and what comes with that.

Relegation is one thing, you can always get promoted again after all. But the players, that’s not so simple. I got over the others leaving last time that’s true. This is different though, I’ve watched them become a team together, it would be all the more painful because of that. I guess this specfic worry ties in with what I’ve been writing about. Because by rights there’s no way Freiburg should be in contention for European football. They’ve conceded 55 goals so far this season. To find a team who’s conceded more in fact you’d have to go right to the bottom of the league, HSV have let in 59 and Darmstadt 59. To put things in perspective they were relegated in 2014/15 having scored 36 and conceded 47. They’re going to finish in the top half of the table with a worse goal difference then when they were relegated, having scored only four more goals. I think it’s the contradiction and oddly enough their unpredictable nature which I love so much. Sometimes they just don’t make any sense. I guess they’re a good fit for me in that sense. I mean last week they lost to Darmstadt who are in 18th and got relegated this weekend, and not only did they lose but they did by three goals. And this weekend they’re in a European place. From one extreme to the other.

The reason for their relegation two years ago lay in the fact that season they drew 13 games compared to five this season. They still have defensive issues obviously but they’re working on them, Söyüncü is a large part of the reason they’ve improved so much. The handsome Turk has the intelligence to match those good looks and is something of a monster tackler. There’s one question which requires no thought at least, he is without a doubt my favourite player this season. Not just my favourite new player but my favourite overall. There’s nothing complicated about that at least.  I just wish he could have played today, not least so Schwolow would have someone to celebrate with, a little something like this:

Joachim Löw at SC Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund 2016/17

joachim-low-at-sc-freiburg-v-borussia-dortmund-2016-17

Lowered Expectations

These past few months I’ve had very low expectations of myself and the past few weeks that’s been true more than ever. The logic is simple, keep expectations low so that way I won’t be disappointed when I fail to live up to them. This week all I have to do is write one small letter, I know it’s only Tuesday but I’m already beating myself up for not having gotten it done. All this time thinking about it and I could have just written the damn thing by now. Yet it’s not so easy, not least (and I’m aware this sounds absurd) because I don’t know what to say. Or rather I know what to say I just don’t know how to put it, how to make myself come across politely. I’m used to things making me feel stupid in some way but this is something else, it’s making me feel like words aren’t my friends either. It’s had the effect of not making me want to write anything, though I can’t blame that for not posting anything on here, I haven’t felt particularly motivated in that respect anyway. So unmotivated have I felt on that count I’ve stopped bothering to make excuses to myself as to why I haven’t done so, nor did I make myself promises, saying that I would try the next day.

When it comes to this stupid letter however I have made many excuses and found just as many distractions.  First of all falling back on the usual tried and tested methods such as looking for new Jogi pictures, sorting stickers and then resorting to sorting out the ever growing list of recordings on my hard-drive. The latter provided quite a bit of fun, I’d forgotten about all the Copa America games I’d collected last summer and the fact that it wasn’t all doom and gloom. As for new distractions I’ve spent quite a bit of time dreaming about Freiburg’s Turkish defender Çağlar Söyüncü. In my story I paired him up with Alexander Schwolow as friends simply because that’s how I wanted things to be. And it turns out they have quite the budding friendship in real life, at least on the pitch anyway. It’s one of the things which has cheered me up somewhat this week. I always like getting pictures of my favourite players but these were extra special, and just to make it a little bit more fun I made a GIF too:

caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-1 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-2caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-3I know I’m getting ahead of myself seeing as there’s still fourteen matches to go of this season but I’ve already made up my mind, the name on my home shirt next year is going to be Söyüncü. In one way I suppose that’s a good thing, the idea that I’m thinking ahead, even if it’s only in a football sense. Thinking ahead to next season means a part of me is planning on being around that long. Even if I don’t feel like it’s true evidently another part of me knows better. I can’t say that I’m feeling any better though because that wouldn’t be true at all. The feeling that I’m sleepwalking through everything won’t go away. Even when I’m watching Freiburg play I feel like I’m not quite all there. I start off feeling fine but the longer the game goes on the harder it gets to keep paying attention to it and my mind ends up drifting.

I thought all those feelings might disappear when I got some sleep but in retrospect I don’t think the sleeping tablets helped that much. For one thing without them I’ve fallen back into my old routine of sleeping in the day and being awake at night, and for another I didn’t like the way they made my head feel. They helped me get some sleep and actually at night-time too, problem is I felt sleepy in the day as well, even with just a half dose. But it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway since they could only be a temporary solution. I’m not quite sure where all this leaves me now or what if anyhing to do next. I’m not keen on the idea of going back there again. I’m not sure listening to someone tell me that at least my speech is good, there must be good things about having autism and that I should just do the things which make me happy is going to help. Great, so I’m capable enough in terms of speech and expressing myself to say that I feel like I don’t want to be alive anymore but I can’t articulate why. And of course I have to live with this, with everything not making sense. I can imagine their answer to that too, things like this don’t make sense to anyone and it’s difficult for everyone. I have no idea if that makes any sense, I hope it’s not descending into rant territory anyway because I said I wouldn’t do that today. I’ve aleady exceeded my rant limit by ranting about Leipzig and last week’s events.

Whatever the answer to any of that there’s one thing I know for definite, I can’t do something because someone else thinks it’s a good idea or it’s what I should be doing. If I write something it has to be because I feel like it. Forcing myself to write could end up making me hate it and were that to happen I’d pretty much be left with nothing. Football is a good interest to have right now but it’s nothing without the stories. If I lost the stories I might actually start to feel lonely. I know I feel a little lonely even with them but not quite so much. At least when there’s always at least one character living in my head then I always have someone to talk to. And I don’t have to worry about what time of day it is. People don’t like being woken up at 4:00am unless it’s a real emergency. And apparently having an existential crisis isn’t an emergency, nor is finding a new Jogi video either.

Normally I would say that the week can’t have been strange because everything is always strange. Yet after last weekend’s events I think I can say just that. I’m not sure what result was more surprising, Dortmund losing 2-1 to Darmstadt or RBL losing 3-0 to HSV. The former resulted in the commentator saying that sometimes things happen in football which can’t be explained. The words stuck with me, as did the fact Darmstadt won at all. Surely given their perilous situation they can’t possibly survive, it makes me wonder if there’s a message in that, sometimes even the loser gets to win. As for HSV that was a different kind of incredible, no-one would have predicted them being the team to breach Fortress Leipzig, or doing it in the way they did. It led to me coining the phrase “Holy Hamburger SV Batman.” Which sums up effectively the weirdness of that situation, and just to make it a little more interesting one of the goals was scored by Kyriakos Papadopoulos who spent some time on loan at RBL earlier this season. He was of course on loan from Leverkusen and he scored against them too. It’s exactly the kind of trivia I love. In that sense I’m glad I still care enough to remember such things. The day I stop caring about random facts and trivia is the day I know all is lost.