Coach, codger, democrats: You can’t do it better than Klopp and Streich

29 years at the club and now it’s over: Christian Streich is leaving SC Freiburg at the end of the season. He follows Jürgen Klopp into the break, whom he praised just a few weeks ago. Football is (for now) losing two outstanding coaching personalities.

“You can’t do it better.” This is what Christian Streich said in February about the self-imposed departure of his coaching colleague Jürgen Klopp from Liverpool FC. Now the 58-year-old is following suit. “And now there is still a bit of time – also for the club,” Streich said at the time, among other things, about Klopp’s voluntary departure. He also gives his SC Freiburg exactly this time. There are still ten weeks until the end of the season and even longer until the start of the season. The club does not need to rush when planning for the future.

Little by little, football fans can get used to the fact that two living legends are taking their hats off, at least for the time being. Two emotional personalities who can jump around on the sidelines like Rumpelstiltskin. Who express their joy and their suffering to the outside world and carry their fans along. Which are absolutely authentic. Who sometimes get upset about supposedly stupid questions from journalists that are gnarly and moody. Two personalities who stand out positively in the smooth interview mode, who say what they think. That aren’t slippery. The result is not only comments about football, but also statements that are so important at this time. A clear stance against right-wing tendencies and racism.

With regard to the AfD, Streich said in an ntv interview in February: “Now the agitators come and try to find a platform to gain power and they polarize and only portray everything negatively and with the worst possible accusations. And now we have to fight for it that such a right-wing radical party cannot come into government.” The man, who studied history, German and sports to become a teacher, said impressively in his typical dialect: “When I was young, I saw the silent 50-year-old men who were in Stalingrad. And I have a lot of stories from my grandmother heard, in one’s own family.” Impressions that leave traces. In the best case scenario, this also applies to the younger generation of football fans.

These are also the words of Klopp, who said in an interview with the “taz” in 2004: “My political understanding is: If I’m doing well, the others should be doing well too. And if I never do something in my life then choose the right.” Since he’s been in Liverpool, the coach has been more concerned with racism, his attitude is the same negative: “It’s about making it clear to everyone that there are a few idiots. But not as many as we think. If they’re not like that “We are powerful, we can change the world.”

A monument doesn’t really fit, it would be deserved

More than two coaches are leaving their clubs and football. While Klopp’s portrait has long been emblazoned on a wall in Liverpool, they have not yet built a monument to Streich in Freiburg. It wouldn’t really suit the 58-year-old either. But he deserved it: Christian Streich is SC Freiburg, SC Freiburg is Christian Streich.

“I had hundreds of extraordinary experiences during my time at the sports club. This club is my life,” says Streich and that’s not just a statement. In the 1987/88 season he played 22 second division games as a professional. He has been employed as a trainer at Breisgauer since 1995. He has worked his way up in the truest sense, from youth coach to assistant coach with the first team to the position he has held since the second half of the 2011/12 season. He reached the DFB Cup final with the professionals, but describes winning the German championship with the A-Juniors in 2008 as his greatest success.

“I’ve thought about it for a long time and had a lot of conversations, but I think that after 29 years, now is the right time to make room for new energies, new people and new opportunities. It was already very important to me in the past that I… “Don’t miss the moment when I think it’s right to leave,” says Streich, according to the club’s statement.

Streich makes the sports club future-proof

If things don’t work out, the coach will be fired. That’s the unwritten law of football. But then there are exceptions every now and then. Klopp and Streich are two of them. With different extents of course, but they both leave of their own free will and have never been terminated. They were allowed to stay when things got difficult. For clubs with different demands, but who played in the same league internationally this season, the Europa League. Streich even got relegated with the team, that was in 2015, but they were promoted back immediately. He turned an elevator team into a seasoned Bundesliga team that recently reached the round of 16 of the Europa League twice in a row.

Streich’s farewell had become apparent. He always only extended his contract by one year and there was never any big fuss about it. But this year there were signals. Streich seemed increasingly accomplished. He had already told the magazine “11Freunde” in autumn 2023: “I feel that I am getting older. My strength is dwindling, it is just foreseeable.” Klopp explained it similarly: “It’s like, how should I put it, I’m running out of energy.”

Streich had added: “I find myself thinking more and more often: How much energy is left with the players? And when I realize that there is no longer enough and that someone younger is needed to get to the players, I stop. ” They fought for their coach until the end. “Hope dies last. We will respect and support his decision,” SC captain Christian Günter said on Sunday: “He is an outstanding coach and an outstanding person for whom there is more than football.” The change will be a loss for the professionals. It can’t be ruled out that one or two people are now thinking about a move – as, according to rumors, some players in Liverpool are.

Bundesliga without a strike – unimaginable

Whether Klopp, at 56, in the ungracious and power-conscious Premier League or the two-year-older Streich in comparatively quiet Freiburg: the job gets on your nerves. Breaks? None. League, cup and international games during the week. In between, analyses, training, preparation, press conferences, interviews. Constantly away from home. A life in a sprint, largely determined by others. Just take a two week vacation in between? Impossible.

If, as with Streich and Klopp, the horizon does not end behind the pitch, time will be (too) short. A break is a strategy away from stress. While Klopp puts it quite precisely at at least a year, Streich leaves his future open. Regardless of the fact that he will fill his suddenly large amount of free time well. For football fans it is unimaginable: SC Freiburg stays in the Bundesliga, Christian Streich doesn’t.

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