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VfL Wolfsburg coach Kovac wishes for sixth place and a couple of days of lounging on the couch

Wolfsburg. Might still help, memory of going. Wolfsburg beat Freiburg 6-0 when the Bundesliga resumed after the long World Cup winter break, and German football lost its eyes in amazement? SC, who had been preparing in the first half of the season to even stare towards the top of the table, had fallen into the VFL, and it was not clear at the time whether they could really be candidates for the international places. Ahead of the second leg on Friday (8:30 p.m., DAZN), the two clubs are now table neighbors – and have settled into their claim areas.

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Read more after the announcement

Freiburg is fifth, VfL sixth – but because both teams are separated by seven points, it’s not a duel between two direct competitors. While SC have already made the leap to Europe and can still dream of the Champions League, the guests need every point in their last away game of the season in the race for sixth and seventh place, which is not quite clear yet. European competitive perspective This will suffice in the end.

We want to defend sixth place.

Freiburg coach Christian Streich would like to skip the first leg “because it is from a completely different time and the system in Wolfsburg will be different”. His Wolfsburg teammate Niko Kovac sees it similarly: “It was the first game after a long break, and this time it’s a normal Bundesliga match.” Both teams have also changed tactically – including alternating between a defensive three and four.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

In the VfL there is no reason to change the lineup (with three in the back) from the 2-1 home win against Hoffenheim – but there is certainly a reason to set goals for the season again. Kovac: “We are sixth for the first time this season, and we want to defend that.” Although: “It’s only one goal difference” in seventh place, “that’s actually nothing, we are basically equal with Leverkusen.” Speculating about goal difference is out of the question – the job in Breisgau is too difficult for that. “Freiburg still has a chance to get into the top four. We don’t go there as favourites, but with positive feelings. And we know what we have to do.”

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Freiburg is still thinking about the Champions League

In the short, refreshing press conference the day before the match, the VFL coach then did what many of his league colleagues like to do over and over again: praise the sporting club as a role model, and not entirely unselfishly. “Freiburg is a good example of continuity. They have a clear identity, clear ideas, clear structures and hierarchies,” says Kovac. “It is a club where you can ‘work in peace’, because ‘if you have the support of the fans and the executive committee you can do very good things, you can You see that really well in the case of Christian Streisch.”

It wasn’t “very good” in the last report from a VfL host. 0:1 against Leipzig, 2:4 at the Union – Of all the things against direct competitors, Freiburg recently lost two consecutive league matches for the first time. The sports club can continue its dream of fourth place and the Champions League. “Nothing’s been done,” said Streisch, looking in the direction of first class. “If we can win on Friday, others should follow suit.” As for the others, for the Supreme Committee, they are third in Leipzig (four points ahead of Freiburg) and fourth in the Union (three points). Berlin players should go to Hoffenheim on Saturday, because Leipzig will come to Bayern Munich.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Kovac wishes for a couple of relaxing days on the couch

VfL also has the opportunity to present itself in a duel with the competition. The rival Leverkusen will only play the Rhine match against Monchengladbach on Sunday night, and will also play the second leg of the Europa League semi-final against Roma on Thursday night. Eintracht Frankfurt, which is three points behind Werksilv, plays against Schalke 04 on Saturday, and the opening of the penultimate round is considered an advantage. “It could be one if I win,” says Kovac. “Then you can sit on the couch for a couple of days and just enjoy it all. Present, I personally find that more fun.”

Speaking of the couch: it is only likely that the matter will be decided in the cup final (Leipzig v Frankfurt) in two weeks – and therefore a week after the end of the league – which position at the table will lead to any European competition. Kovac said, “It is primarily about playing at the international level, and we can only influence indirectly whether it is in the Europa League or the Conference League. We want to be in sixth place, then we will be there at the international level for sure.”