Christian Streich’s team recorded their first league victory of the season against 1. FC Nürnberg on Saturday and victory in Portugal would keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the competition.
Not giving up
Freiburg are currently third in Group H with two points from their opening three games, but Streich's charges have not given up hope of progressing to the knockout round. “If I’d given up and didn’t believe we could qualify, there’d be something wrong,” said Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes. Admir Mehmedi, who scored in the Freiburg’s victory over Nürnberg, was in agreement, saying: “We still have a chance if we win. Of course we want to qualify.”
If Freiburg are to advance from their group, they will have to perform better in the second half in Portugal than they have done so far on their European adventure: The Black Forest club surrendered winning positions at home to Estoril and FC Slovan Liberec, while they also conceded two second-half goals away to Sevilla FC. “It’s very important we play well for the whole 90 minutes,” said keeper Oliver Baumann.
'Looking forward to it'
Baumann, who pulled off several outstanding saves at the Grundig Stadion on Saturday, also feels his team-mates are more than capable of returning to Freiburg with three points in the bag. “I’m really looking forward to the game,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s very important that we keep improving and also that we qualify.”
Mensure Mujdza and Mike Hanke have both been ruled out of the match with a ruptured tendon and a groin strain respectively, while Vladimir Darida, who scored a spectacular goal against Nürnberg, is unlikely to travel with the rest of the squad in order to rest ahead of Matchday 12’s derby against VfB Stuttgart. “The Bundesliga is our top priority,”admitted Streich, “but we will certainly field a competitive team in Estoril.”
Estoril: Vagner - Yohan Tavares, Mano, Goncalo, Ruben - Filipe Goncalves - Joao Pedro, Evandro, Babanco - Luis Leal, Seba
Freiburg: Baumann - Sorg, Diagne, Ginter, Günter - Schuster, Fernandes - Klaus, Coquelin, Höfler - Freis