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Bundesliga: Christian Streich to leave SC Freiburg

March 18, 2024

After twelve years in charge, one of German football's most iconic figures has announced he will leave his position as Freiburg head coach at the end of the season.

Christian Streich waves goodbye to fans
Christian Streich's departure as Freiburg head coach marks the end of an eraImage: Harry Langer/dpa/picture alliance

Christian Streich will leave SC Freiburg at the end of the current Bundesliga season. The 58-year-old has been in charge of the southwestern German club for the past twelve years, making him the Bundesliga's second-longest serving coach after Heidenheim's Frank Schmidt.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I can announce that I won't continue my job as Freiburg coach," said Streich in a simple video posted on the club's social media channel.

"After twelve years, it's the right time to bring in new energy, new people, new opportunities. I believe the players need this new energy."

"This club is my life," said Streich.

Outspoken overachiever

No one has coached more games (481 as of March 18, 2024) or won more points at Freiburg than Christian Streich. Despite their modest financial means, and the club being one of the only professional clubs to be fully controlled by the club's members, Streich has led Freiburg into Europe four times. He also helped them reach the club's first ever German Cup final in 2021/22, a game they lost on penalties to RB Leipzig.

Apart from his sporting achievements, Streich has made a name for himself for being vocal on current affairs.

Three years ago, the Freiburg coach was critical of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and its involvement with Premier League side Newcastle.

Most recently, Streich called for the club's supporters to take part in the Germany-wide protests against the far right.

"Football fans and coaches are citizens. If you don't speak out now, you didn't understand anything in history lessons at school," he said. "It’s the eleventh hour."

As well as being a supporter of having women in leading positions in society, Streich was also vocal on racism issues, the education of young people and money in football.

Remarkable career

As the first team was facing a tough time at the end of 2011, the club didn’t have to look far for their next coach. Streich, who had been a youth coach at the club since 1995 and coached the U19s for 230 games, took over and helped last-placed Freiburg to a mid-table finish in his first year in charge. A year later, he guided Freiburg to the Europa League.

Just like the previous coach Volker Finke, Streich stayed put even when things didn't go well. Despite getting relegated in 2015, Freiburg and Streich continued working together, resulting in the club getting promoted after just one season in the second division.

"You see that the football we play is a result of growing up in this city and that not everything is about results alone," Streich told local newspaper Südkurier after securing promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016.

Former Germany international Matthias Ginter, who started his career at Freiburg, said the players would like Streich to stay for 10 or 15 more years.

"He lives this club, he's experienced everything here, he has developed the club in the past years."

Streich has turned Freiburg into the Bundesliga's serial overachievers but he has also become the social conscience of the league. When he departs at the end of the season, an era will end for both the club and the league.

It's not yet clear who the new Freiburg head coach will be, but there's no denying replacing Christian Streich is an impossible job.

Edited by Jonathan Harding