Football – Freiburg im Breisgau – balancing act: SC hopes against Juve also on Doan – Sport

Freiburg (dpa/lsw) – Winger Ritsu Doan is back in form at exactly the right time and is building on the performance at SC Freiburg that he was able to call up in the first phase of the season. The Japanese national soccer player could be a decisive factor in the fight for the quarter-finals of the Europa League in the second part of the international highlight of the club’s history against Juventus Turin on Thursday (6.45 p.m. / RTL +).

“He’s a great player for us,” said coach Christian Streich one day before the highlight. In the 0-1 defeat in the first leg at Juve a week ago, Doan, who was previously ill, only came off the bench. A few days later, however, he was able to draw attention to himself with the winning goal in the 2-1 Bundesliga win against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

“He’s always a threat to the opponent,” said Coach Streich, whose contract extension was made public on Tuesday. On the offensive, Freiburg have had a harder time in the past few weeks than before the World Cup break – with and without Doan. Before the home win in Baden’s clash with TSG, the Sport-Club didn’t score from open play in three games. In the first duel with the Italian record champions there was only one shot on goal after 90 minutes.

“They gave us the ball, but we had trouble making ends meet,” Doan said. “We have a lot of quality players who know what to do with the ball. We have to improve on that.” Streich added: “It will be a balancing act. We must not walk into the knife.”

Even a win with a one-goal difference would be enough for Freiburg to go into extra time. And especially in the atmospheric Europa-Park stadium, Juve shouldn’t underestimate the South Badeners, because they are now unbeaten at home for 15 competitive games. It helps him and his team, said Streich, that the away goals rule no longer exists. “But we’re also the underdogs. Anything but Juventus progressing would be a huge surprise.”

It will also be a surprise if Philipp Lienhart will be part of the squad. The Austrian was already training with the team again. But it was critical, said Streich about the thigh injury that Lienhart had suffered in Turin. In the hindquarters he would have Manuel Gulde, who showed a decent performance against Hoffenheim. That’s also why Streich doesn’t have to be afraid of the highlight of the season so far.

Finally, he can also fall back on Doan, whose form curve is pointing steeply upwards again. And the 24-year-old new signing only showed what it’s like to score against big teams at the World Cup in Qatar. In Japan’s 2-1 win against Germany, he had scored an interim equalizer for his team.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:230315-99-965105/3