Nico Schlotterbeck is the best man on the pitch in the cup final. But that does not console the future BVB player over SC Freiburg’s unfortunate defeat.
Christian Streich and Nico Schlotterbeck have a lot in common. At the end of this windy May evening in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, however, the two Freiburg players had completely different emotional states.
The coach of SC Freiburg stoically accepted the 3:5 defeat after penalty shootout against RB Leipzig, he even had a smile on his lips and eagerly distributed hand kisses towards the SC supporters.
“I can’t bring myself to get angry. Tomorrow, maybe,” he revealed at the press conference. His wife, who had travelled by train, had raved to him about the atmosphere of the SC fans and who she had met. He only felt pressure in the Bundesliga, the cup final was something like an encore, which he visibly enjoyed.
Not ten minutes before, his defender had sounded quite different. “To be honest, it’s no consolation,” Schlotterbeck replied when asked whether the “Man of the Match” award helped him get over the defeat.
Schlotterbeck: “Hard to accept
Right after the final whistle, Schlotterbeck had anger and disappointment written all over his face as he stared into space for seconds after Ermedin Demirovic’s miss and shook his head.
“It’s hard to accept that we lost. That was my last game for SC and I have to say I played my heart out,” added the international, who will wear the jersey of Borussia Dortmund next season.
The 22-year-old played the left part in Freiburg’s three-man backline with impressive cleverness, straddled the ball like Jürgen Kohler once did at BVB and drove the ball forward like Bayern’s Lucio did no better. In short: He justified his reputation as a complete defender.
There was only one thing the outgoing Freiburg player complained about after the game on Sky: “I didn’t take responsibility in the penalty shoot-out, I didn’t have the balls.
National coach Flick praises Schlotterbeck
Before the nerve-wracking 120 minutes plus penalty shoot-out, national coach Hansi Flick had already spoken highly of his protégé.
“You can see what a good job SC Freiburg and Christian Streich are doing. He is a player who is very self-confident and also knows what to do with the ball,” Flick praised on ARD.
The fact that it still wasn’t enough to give the Breisgauer a farewell gift is hard for Schlotterbeck to take. “I think those are games that hurt even more,” was all he said – referring to the course of the game, in which SC seemed to hold all the aces.
“We didn’t play it quite as well after the sending off, but we didn’t actually allow much until the goal against,” Schlotterbeck analysed. “Then you just have the bad luck in extra time with the aluminium goals.”
His bitter conclusion: “I’m a bit lost for words. We gave everything to achieve this goal and unfortunately we didn’t manage that.”
Borussia Dortmund can rejoice
The blond-haired defender will probably need some time to get over it – but when his new club asks for the first training session after the summer holiday, he should have come to terms with the missed opportunity.
At BVB, Schlotterbeck then wants to make up for what he missed with SC: “I think Dortmund will also find a good solution now, that hopefully we’ll bring this thing here to Dortmund next year.”
One thing is certain: Schlotterbeck delivered his perfect application letter for a position as a regular in the Borussia defence in the final game.
Not only since that windy May evening in Berlin can Borussia Dortmund look forward to a player who leaves his soul on the pitch – so that he will have as few defeats as possible to digest in the future.