The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Today we preview Freiburg.
Freiburg had two head coaches since July 1991 and July 2011. Now Marcus Song will step into the big footsteps of former bosses Volker Finke (1991 to 2007) and Robin Dutt (2007 to 2011). Song’s job will be to continue the work that Dutt did though Freiburg enter the 2011-12 season with the goal of avoiding relegation.
Dutt guided Freiburg to promotion from the second division in his second season in 2009 and staved off relegation in his first season there. Then last season, Dutt actually had Freiburg as a serious contender for international ranks for much of the season before falling off in the end with eight losses in their last 11 matches to finish ninth on the table – the club’s top first division showing since taking sixth in 2000-01.
Dutt bolted for Bayer Leverkusen and was replaced by Song, who has been with the club since 2008 – first as the U17 coach and then the club’s second team. Now it’s Song’s job.
One of the biggest reasons for Freiburg’s success last season was striker Papiss Demba Cisse. It remains unclear still if the Senegal international remain with the club. Song would love to team Cisse with Mali international forward Garra Dembele, who arrives from Levski Sofia after scoring 34 goals in 36 games last season – 24 in the Bulgarian league and eight in the Europa League and Europa League qualification.
“With the acquisition of Dembele we are well-equipped in the attack for the coming season,” said sports director Dirk Dufner, who will be fighting to keep Cisse for 2011-12. And if not, Dufner can
Song also reinforced his backline with the signing of Kosovo-born defender Beg Ferati, who has earned Champions League experience with side FC Basle.
The team did lose a couple of players as defender Ömer Toprak left for Leverkusen with Dutt to replace retired Sami Hyypia. Forward Tommy Bechmann moved to Danish top flight side SonderjyskE while Nicolas Höfler transferred to Erzgebirge Aue.
Former top keeper Simon Pouplin was also let go as the club decided to extend their contract with Oliver Baumann until 2014 as their long-term keeper.
Despite his promotion to head coach, Song is not worried about a presumed lack of experience.
“I am been in this business full time for 12 years. So it’s not a new start for me. Besides, I know the club,” said Song.