Category Archives: SC Freiburg

Advent Calendar Day 12: The Day of Petersen

I wish I could come with a better title, Nils certainly deserves one. Also because the title makes it sound like I got Nils’ card in the DFB calendar, something which of course is never going to happen. Maybe Christian Günter will be in there one day but not Nils. That doesn’t matter tonight anyway, they didn’t win a trophy or promotion but you wouldn’t know it from the players and Christian Streich’s reaction. It was a big game, three points would see them out of the relegation zone. For some reason at home they don’t lose against Gladbach and tonight was no exception. It may not have been a performance as terrific as the one which saw them beat Gladbach 3-1 last season but it was good in it’s own way. They only scored the one goal and that was a penalty but it so easily could have been more. I’m kind of glad it wasn’t though, it would have made a dent in the goal difference which obviously is important but I would have felt bad for Matze. Gladbach aren’t having a very good week, last weekend they got a penalty wrongfully taken away and scored an own goal. And this week Jannik Vestergaard isn’t any happier, the penalty was debatable to say the least. And once again it showcases how annoying and intrusive VAR can be. It took them close to a minute to stop the play and tell the referee. If they are going to keep VAR they need to make it more responsive and communication needs to be better. In the end  don’t think it would have mattered, the way the second half went I think Freiburg would have won anyway. That won’t make Vestergaard feel any better of course.

I could rage against everything that went wrong today and all the things I screwed up, not least about the fact I need to take better care of my stuff. This time it’s my tablet and the USB port needs replacing. Being without it makes me feel like I’m missing a part of me, I’m so used to it being at hand it actually feels like an extension of me. Having a laptop in front of you is just not the same at all. But it’s my own fault and now I have to pay the price, not just the cost of the repairs but the waiting. I keep going to get it thinking it’s there. It’s only been 24 hours and it’s like I’m going through a withdrawal of some kind. One thing is for certain I’ll be careful not to mention this to any so called “professional.” Lest they give  me yet another lecture about being “overdependent on technology.” You know because normal people aren’t over reliant on technology at all. I’m not going to rant about that or anything else. Freiburg won, Nils scored a goal and just as importantly I got the Jogi video I was expecting to get today.

Nils scored the only goal of the night but he was far from the most important man on the pitch tonight, in fact everyone but Alex was. He for once didn’t have a lot to do, which makes a pleasant change for him I suppose. Of great importance tonight was Çağlar Söyüncü. This was a game made for him, several times he got partake in the monster tackles and interventions he thrives on, earning himself a much deserved equally monster hug from Christian Streich after the game. Apparently some Premier League clubs are interested in Söyüncü, I hate to say it but I can see why, he would be great in the English league. But he’s not going anywhere, not yet.

Nils Petersen goal – SC Freiburg v Gladbach 2017/18

SC Freiburg v Gladbach 2017/18 – last ten seconds and celebrations

Sometimes I think maybe things are predestined, today of all days I get the sticker of Jonas Hector and the card of Marco Reus. The connection of course being Peter Stöger who up until last weekend was Hector’s coach at Köln and is now Reus’ coach at Dortmund. There’s another interesting connection in the sense that tonight was his first game in charge of Dortmund against Mainz, the team of former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel. As well of course as being the former team of current Dortmund player Andre Schürrle. Well Dortmund won their first game with the new Peter in charge. As for Köln tomorrow night will be their second league game without him and there is no way in hell they are going to win it or even draw with Bayern. Last season they got a very respectable point at the Alllianz arena, a feat which is the very definition of impossible now.

DFB Pokal Achtelfinale Auslosung 2017/18

With Jogi being in Stuttgart for Freiburg’s game and the DFB Pokal draw today things started out good, and then that ended about ten minutes into the game. All of a sudden the draw didn’t matter so much then. When the English league cup was drawn not long ago lots of people online said it was fixed, now I’m not saying the same thing about the Pokal draw but it’s interesting that’s for sure. Same as it’s funny that Stuttgart are the second team out, being drawn not long after their game kicked off. Bayern being drawn with Dortmund is obviously the one of most interest, it meaning that there won’t be the usual big two final this year, so that should in theory make things a little more interesting. A few weeks ago I would have thought Dortmund would be the favorites to win such a clash, but now with the Heynckes effect in full swing I’m not so sure.

Freiburg being drawn with Bremen is something I have mixed feelings about, it’s not the worst draw they could have gotten and they have a good record against Bremen in their own stadium. There’s two bigger questions than who’s going to win that game, one being where are they going to be in the league when that game happens, will Bremen have moved up from 17th place. And the second and even bigger question is will Alexander Nouri still be Bremen’s coach come the 19/20th December. Personally I wouldn’t place any money on that being the case. I wonder how many times have gone without a win in ten games and avoided relegation come the summer. The other interesting game is Gladbach v Leverkusen, in the league two weeks ago it ended 5-1 in Leverkusen’s favour. Here’s hoping for Matze’s sake that it goes a lot better this time.

But if it came down to it Freiburg getting through to the next round is all I really want. Not least because the Pokal is one of the few things that has gone right so far this season. With one win in ten games they are dangerously close to the perilous situation Cologne and Bremen are currently in. And today just compounded the misery. Having to play 80 minutes with ten minutes against Stuttgart was never going to be easy, but it being Caglar Söyüncü just made it so much worse. And the circumstances of his dismissal made it even worse. It’s not the fact he got sent off that is so infuriating, it’s the fact it took several minutes between the offence taking place and action being taken. What’s the point in video review analysis when it interrupts the game that way? How can that even be fair? And what the hell were the review team doing in that time? They have no excuse for not seeing it, what’s the point in having a video review system if they can’t act swiftly? Being punished so late after the offence has occurred, it’s almost like retroactive punishment. From the start I had mixed feelings about the video review system. Now I’m firmly against it and not only because it seems to have gone against Freiburg an awful lot since the start of this season. An English commentator sums it up from me, during a match a while ago one of them said more or less “football is a game played by humans, watched by humans and refereed by humans.” You can’t put it much simple than that, goal line technology is one thing and that’s great. But video review is obtrusive and unnecessary. You still have the same failings as before, it’s still dependant on humans being observant and paying proper attention. And it doesn’t remove arguments from the game, whether that be players and coaches or spectators, actually it just creates more arguments. Some people say give it time, that it’ll take time before the system works perfectly. Yeah and in the meantime your team could get relegated because of a decision made by a guy in a box hundreds of miles away.

Loyal

It’s been too long since I’ve written anything on here, I’ve posted but not actually written anything – Jogi and Hansi pictures don’t count. To be precise it’s been 151 days since I last wrote something, over five months ago. But that’s not the whole story, I stopped posting regularly long before then, at the start of the year. In all those months I didn’t even consider posting or look at the daily prompt which used to be part of my daily routine. Like so many other things it slipped away, and now it’s one of the things I’m trying to get back. The past few weeks I’ve started looking at the prompts again, trying to sum up the courage and enthusiasm to write something. And this one is so well timed I had to make myself try to write a little something.

Ordinarily the topic of being loyal would give me the opportunity to write about something Jogi related or at the very least Freiburg. I am going to mention the former but in a constructive way, not in “an excuse to go on about my obsession” way. I’ve done something which I have never done before, I finally have the opportunity to do something real related to an obsession of mine. Last week I took the impulsively insane decision to buy a ticket for the England-Germany game next month. It’s strange that’s for sure, a few months ago I was obsessively plotting my own death and now instead I’m making travel plans for a football match. I’m excited about going but also terrified, I think I may have over extended myself. I’m supposed to be increasing my independence but not necessarily by talking a drastic step like this. All this work I’m putting in and I won’t even get to see Manuel Neuer, with the recurrence of his foot injury he won’t be in squad until next March, if then. I’m making up for that in the best way I can, if the real Neuer won’t be there then I’ll take my own. I plan on taking my own soft toy version of Neuer with me and snapping a few pictures of him in London. It’ll be like Manuel’s travel journal.

Given that I’m focusing on something positive and doing all of this by myself you would think the psych would have no objection to this, but they do. In line with everything else they’ve told me they’re worried about me “feeding my obsession even more.” That I’m getting more obsessed when I should be stepping away from it. Because to them I’m not just loyal to Jogi and all of my other favorite Germans, they think I have an unhealthy attachment to them to the detriment of everything else. Which is kind of funny really, I mean have they not read the diagnostic criteria for autism? But then as they’ve reminded me several times they aren’t an expert in autism. They didn’t need to remind me of that, I can’t forget it, not when they do things like pick me up on my use of the words “NT people” and “autistic people.” Apparently it’s not good to talk about the two like they’re different which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If they aren’t different the diagnosis of autism wouldn’t even exist now, would it?

I don’t think a lot of their advice, according to them the solution to my problems is for my special interests to be less consuming, and to spend more time with other people. That’ll solve my anxiety, intrusive thoughts and depression apparently. Of course that completely overlooks the fact that if being around other people were easier for me a and a less anxiety provoking experience I wouldn’t retreat into my special interests quite so much. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know I’m not going to walk away from one of the few things that makes me happy just because some so called professional (who in their own words knows very little about autism) thinks it’s a good idea. Maybe I have crossed a line and maybe my latest special interest is a little all too encompassing. But it’s all I have right now and it makes sense, which is more than I can say for anything else.

Other people don’t make any sense at all, at least the NT ones I know don’t, not at the moment. I don’t understand how someone can disappear for four months and reappear without any explanation, and still claim to be your friend. There’s a line between loyalty and blind stupidity, and I think I’m a little closer to the latter. I don’t stand up for myself, I let people walk all over me in this regard. And some people use autism as a justification of sorts, they say that I’m worrying over nothing, that I’m just being over obsessive and it’s autism’s fault. When in reality it’s them, they are being a bad friend. Because a real friend wouldn’t invite you somewhere and then leave you hanging as to the details. For a long time I’ve worried about this kind of thing, about other people seeing me as a pushover. I’ve wondered if they think I’m so pathetic and socially lacking in regards to social opportunities that they’ll just assume I’ll put up with it because I have no other options.

On the surface of it you would think being described as loyal is a good thing, but maybe it’s not. And I’m not the only person to wonder about such things. Perhaps it’s not a good thing for other people to think of you as being “loyal” but when it comes to football I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I don’t think being a fan of a team like Freiburg makes me a loser or anything like that. It doesn’t matter that I had to wait until MD7 for them to win their first game when last season the first win came on MD2. They might have made us wait but when they finally delivered it was all so worth it, beating Hoffenheim 3-2 and Çağlar  Söyüncū getting his first ever goal in a Freiburg shirt. No matter when his first goal happened I would remember it but with scoring in a goal in a game like that he’s guaranteed he’ll be remembered forever now, regardless of where he ends up in the future. Maybe other people do think being such an ardent fan of a team like Freiburg makes me an idiot, if so, that’s ok. If there’s one thing I know it’s not to take seriously what other people think. If only I could remember that when it really mattered.

Hansi Flick pre-match show interview – SC Freiburg v Hoffenheim 2017/18

Hansi Flick – SC Freiburg v Hoffenheim pre-match show interview 2017/18

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