There might not be a better “feel good” story in professional football than SC Freiburg.
Once an afterthought, Die Breisgau-Brasilianer were ahead of Bayern Munich for the majority of the Hinrunde and are in a strong position to play in the Champions League next season — if the club can avoid a calamitous collapse.
For Nils Petersen, the Champions League is still a dream for SC Freiburg.
“The whole club has developed tremendously and has become an incredibly good address. When you’re up there after 15 matchdays, you don’t want to give it away quickly,” Petersen told kicker. “The momentum is on our side. We know that we can get very good players here that we didn’t get before, that we can now fill a stadium with 35,000 spectators, that we can compete internationally. Of course, the Champions League is a dream. It’s far from a goal. The club is still too much in the growth phase for that. It’s better to stay humble.”
Petersen, now 34-years-old and a long time away from his Bayern Munich days, is a complimentary player on the team, but still feels like he has a role.
“I get my assignments, but I still have a place in the team, the coach changes me regularly. Overall, I see myself as part of a team that’s second in the table. I’m relaxed,” Petersen said. “You have to be realistic. I’m 34. We have players like (Kevin) Schade, like (Roland) Sallai, like (Noah) Weißhaupt, like (Woo-Yeong) Jeong — young players who are itching to get my minutes. We’re so good now that we don’t know how much I can still help the team at that level. We used to be behind a lot, but now we’re often in the lead. That’s why you don’t need me subbed in that often.”
Petersen’s veteran presence will likely play a role at some point once again for SC Freiburg. RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Union Berlin will be among the clubs looking to claw into a top four position for the Champions League in 2023/24.