News : DFB newcomer Christian Günter: Freiburg School
The Mösle Stadium in Freiburg is a place for football purists. In the middle of the forest here in the southeast of the city is the SC Freiburg football school. They have been training talent here since 2000. The ravages of time are gnawing at the listed grandstands, even after the renovation in 2013. A facility with no frills, no high-gloss training factory. Christian Günter, the left-back who was surprisingly appointed to the European Championship squad by Joachim Löw, is a child of this school.
Here he lived through his footballing youth. Sighted at 13, he played for all Freiburg youth teams. In the end, as captain, he led the U19s to win the DFB Cup twice. At his side Matthias Ginter stabilized the defense, they were trained by Christian Streich. They share a long past.
“I’ve known Christian since I was 14,” says Matthias Ginter to SPIEGEL, “and it was not necessarily foreseeable for either of us that we will meet again here.” After all, Ginter and Günter are not born football geniuses, they have worked on and trained a lot. “He’s an extremely hard-working player, incredibly ambitious, one who always gives everything,” is how world champion Ginter describes the qualities of his former Freiburg teammate. In addition, Günter is someone “who doesn’t make a stink, even when he’s not playing.”
Sorg also already knows the defender
Ginter and Günter not only sound terribly similar, so similar that Löw’s assistant Marcus Sorg started talking about Günter in front of the press on Tuesday when he was asked about Ginter. Sorg is also an old friend of Günter’s who he is now meeting again at the DFB. He once trained the Freiburg resident as a coach for the SC youngsters. Sorg says of Günter that he brings in “an incredible amount of passion and physical presence”.
In Breisgau all Günter experts are actually, but two people accompanied him particularly closely. One is his footballing foster father, Bundesliga coach Streich, the other SC sports director Klemens Hartenbach. Hartenbach previously headed the soccer school in the Mösle Stadium and later the scouting department. The 56-year-old has been sports director since 2013. In an interview with SPIEGEL, he said: “The virtues that make him a professional today have already come to fruition in all of the youth teams, especially his irrepressible will.” And so Günter quickly developed into a regular Bundesliga player.
There is so much talk of the DFB returnees Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels these days, but the time they have suspended is nothing compared to the waiting period of returnees Christian Günter. In May 2014 Löw nominated him for a friendly against Poland. Günter played nine minutes. It was a game that many have forgotten, that is not reprehensible, for the neutral observer it was also a game to forget. 0-0. And for a long time it seemed as if the national coach had forgotten this game and Günter’s nine minutes.
Always loyal to the SC
Since then Joachim Löw had given him no more working time. “Physically, I wasn’t that good together then. I was young too, just 20, ”said Günter last on SWR. Seven years later, Günter goes to the EM.
While mate Ginter became world champion in 2014, then moved to Dortmund and then to Gladbach, Günter remained loyal to the sports club. With Freiburg he was relegated, promoted again and made it into international competitions. Here he is undisputed, high performer, crowd favorite, captain. He hasn’t missed a single minute of the game this season. Across the seasons, he started 78 Bundesliga games in the starting line-up.
What makes it so indispensable? Sports director Hartenbach says: “His greatest strengths are his dynamism and his speed.” Last season Günter measured a top speed of 35.1 km / h. Hardly any other Bundesliga player can do that. On the left, he uses it for a diligent offensive activity. He recently prepared 70 shots on goal – only two Bundesliga players were better. He was involved in a total of 95 shots on goal and has hit the third most crosses in the league.
What they like so much in Freiburg is his career, his work ethic. Again, no frills, no high gloss. “In addition to the daily training program, he does many additional shifts. And it is definitely not a disadvantage that he has known coach Streich for many years, ”says Hartenbach.
Streich also impressed Günter’s development: “He’s really gotten better in terms of physicality. And when it comes to the calm on the ball. It is not so easy for opponents to defend it. Today he does all these things finer, better, also in anticipation in one against one, «is the judgment of the trainer.
At the European Championships they therefore have a lot of confidence in him in Breisgau: “He is a total team player. He will bring all of his fortune to the team, regardless of whether he plays a lot or not so much. With this attitude he can bring the team forward, «says sports director Hartenbach.
Even if they have such a high opinion of him in Freiburg – Günter should not become more than a supplementary player at the tournament, one who ensures that the national coach also has several options at the back left. But you never know at Löw. Like Günter, Christoph Kramer also celebrated his DFB debut in that sad international match against Poland and was in the World Cup final six weeks later.
Günter himself says politely, as it should be, he is happy “about every minute I get – but even if none should come out, that’s already a huge experience for me”, according to an interview with the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”.
As Ginter says: no one who makes a stink.