Category Archives: SC Freiburg

Nils Petersen at Magdeburg v Halberstadt (Landespokal 2016-17)

Should is the Root of all Evil

I’ve been waiting to post something until I was sure I had a subject to write about which wasn’t related to real life in any way. I still don’t have that but today I realised I don’t need to keep waiting. It’s possible to write about real life without it getting too depressing. At least today it is. I’m in sort of a good mood and I’m making the most of it. Freiburg won, I got a Jogi video from the game and with ten packets of stickers left to open I’ve completed 87% of this season’s album. Those things may seem pretty trivial but they are very important to me and I’m no longer worrying if I should be thinking of bigger things or if my interests make me a child. I don’t care anymore.

What I should or shouldn’t like is of no importance to me anymore. I’m not so worried about what other people think of me in that way. Sometimes the right pieces come together at the right time to make you see something and that happened to me this week. The research I’ve been doing for my presentation and the psych appointment being the two pieces in question. One of the things I discovered whilst looking things up was the word autism was first used in 1912 and it used to describe a group of patients who seemed to be isolated and uninterested in the world around them. That was long before autism became a proper diagnosis or even a recognised condition but it wasn’t that far off an accurate description. And I know some people won’t like it but it makes sense to me. I understand why some people will be offended by that because it conjures up the image of the stereotype of autistic people who are living within their own little world and who are unable or uninterested in being a part of the world around them. Thing is I do live in my own little world and I’m not keeping that a secret anymore. I’m not making myself spend time with other people just because I think I’ve had too much alone time. I know what makes me happy and what doesn’t. It really should be that simple but I over complicate it. I have to try and stop doing that.

Like I said it makes sense to me and it was reading all of that combined with what the person I saw said which made me realise something. I wish they’d been blunter, at first they went through the usual but there’s no such thing as normal anyway. Then we got to the real point. I don’t seem normal because I’m not. Any effort I put into trying is a waste of time. It’s an unobtainable dream. And that led to another question, do I even want to be normal?

The past few months I certainly thought I did, now I’m not so certain. One thing I did decide is that I was a lot happier before I started worrying about what other people think I should be doing. I’ve been so worried that I won’t or can’t meet their expectations. And I’ve been worried about what’ll happen when they realise that themselves. Yet I was worrying about completely the wrong thing. What I’m really afraid of is them finding out I have no intention of even trying. Because I really don’t want to be normal or to do any of the things everybody thinks I should want. That’s the secret I’m worried will be exposed. Not only that I can’t pretend to be normal but I don’t actually want to.

I know I said this wasn’t going to be depressing, I didn’t lie, this is far less depressing than the last thing I posted. I’m not debating whether or not I have the right to be alive for one thing. Today I haven’t felt like I’m a waste of space who doesn’t even deserve to consume oxygen. I might feel that way tomorrow or even later tonight if I can’t sleep again. But at least I had this one afternoon free of any such worries. To get back to the point there’s a phrase I came across which I feel fits perfectly, it’s how the Navajo Indians refer to people with autism and such disabilities. They call them perpetual children which I think is a really neat way of putting it.  I can’t explain why exactly, I just really like it.

Nothing has changed between now and the last post I wrote, nothing has been fixed or anything like that. There’s still plenty to be put right and I’m no closer to a solution for the main problem than before. The reason I’m not stressing out over it is because I’ve let myself withdraw into my own little world without worrying if I should or not. There’s that word again, should. They’re right, it can be an insidious and unhelpful word. I have to do what I need and right now that’s run as far as possible from reality.

On the subject of reality there is one thing I have to mention, Freiburg’s win against Schalke today means they’re in fifth place in the table. If they finish in fifth place they’ll be playing Europa League football. I don’t want to think about next season because it feels like tempting fate, both in regards to them and myself. As good a mood as I’m in it still makes me uneasy to think that far ahead, to assume I’ll still be alive then I suppose. In regards to Freiburg it’s not missing out on Europe Im worried about, what’s scaring me is the possiblity they will qualify. I’m not sure they’re ready for such a big step. Last time it pretty much broke them and whilst I’d love them whatever happens – whatever division they play in, I’d rather not have to go through the heartbreak of relegation again and what comes with that.

Relegation is one thing, you can always get promoted again after all. But the players, that’s not so simple. I got over the others leaving last time that’s true. This is different though, I’ve watched them become a team together, it would be all the more painful because of that. I guess this specfic worry ties in with what I’ve been writing about. Because by rights there’s no way Freiburg should be in contention for European football. They’ve conceded 55 goals so far this season. To find a team who’s conceded more in fact you’d have to go right to the bottom of the league, HSV have let in 59 and Darmstadt 59. To put things in perspective they were relegated in 2014/15 having scored 36 and conceded 47. They’re going to finish in the top half of the table with a worse goal difference then when they were relegated, having scored only four more goals. I think it’s the contradiction and oddly enough their unpredictable nature which I love so much. Sometimes they just don’t make any sense. I guess they’re a good fit for me in that sense. I mean last week they lost to Darmstadt who are in 18th and got relegated this weekend, and not only did they lose but they did by three goals. And this weekend they’re in a European place. From one extreme to the other.

The reason for their relegation two years ago lay in the fact that season they drew 13 games compared to five this season. They still have defensive issues obviously but they’re working on them, Söyüncü is a large part of the reason they’ve improved so much. The handsome Turk has the intelligence to match those good looks and is something of a monster tackler. There’s one question which requires no thought at least, he is without a doubt my favourite player this season. Not just my favourite new player but my favourite overall. There’s nothing complicated about that at least.  I just wish he could have played today, not least so Schwolow would have someone to celebrate with, a little something like this:

Joachim Löw at SC Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund 2016/17

joachim-low-at-sc-freiburg-v-borussia-dortmund-2016-17

Lowered Expectations

These past few months I’ve had very low expectations of myself and the past few weeks that’s been true more than ever. The logic is simple, keep expectations low so that way I won’t be disappointed when I fail to live up to them. This week all I have to do is write one small letter, I know it’s only Tuesday but I’m already beating myself up for not having gotten it done. All this time thinking about it and I could have just written the damn thing by now. Yet it’s not so easy, not least (and I’m aware this sounds absurd) because I don’t know what to say. Or rather I know what to say I just don’t know how to put it, how to make myself come across politely. I’m used to things making me feel stupid in some way but this is something else, it’s making me feel like words aren’t my friends either. It’s had the effect of not making me want to write anything, though I can’t blame that for not posting anything on here, I haven’t felt particularly motivated in that respect anyway. So unmotivated have I felt on that count I’ve stopped bothering to make excuses to myself as to why I haven’t done so, nor did I make myself promises, saying that I would try the next day.

When it comes to this stupid letter however I have made many excuses and found just as many distractions.  First of all falling back on the usual tried and tested methods such as looking for new Jogi pictures, sorting stickers and then resorting to sorting out the ever growing list of recordings on my hard-drive. The latter provided quite a bit of fun, I’d forgotten about all the Copa America games I’d collected last summer and the fact that it wasn’t all doom and gloom. As for new distractions I’ve spent quite a bit of time dreaming about Freiburg’s Turkish defender Çağlar Söyüncü. In my story I paired him up with Alexander Schwolow as friends simply because that’s how I wanted things to be. And it turns out they have quite the budding friendship in real life, at least on the pitch anyway. It’s one of the things which has cheered me up somewhat this week. I always like getting pictures of my favourite players but these were extra special, and just to make it a little bit more fun I made a GIF too:

caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-1 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-2caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-3I know I’m getting ahead of myself seeing as there’s still fourteen matches to go of this season but I’ve already made up my mind, the name on my home shirt next year is going to be Söyüncü. In one way I suppose that’s a good thing, the idea that I’m thinking ahead, even if it’s only in a football sense. Thinking ahead to next season means a part of me is planning on being around that long. Even if I don’t feel like it’s true evidently another part of me knows better. I can’t say that I’m feeling any better though because that wouldn’t be true at all. The feeling that I’m sleepwalking through everything won’t go away. Even when I’m watching Freiburg play I feel like I’m not quite all there. I start off feeling fine but the longer the game goes on the harder it gets to keep paying attention to it and my mind ends up drifting.

I thought all those feelings might disappear when I got some sleep but in retrospect I don’t think the sleeping tablets helped that much. For one thing without them I’ve fallen back into my old routine of sleeping in the day and being awake at night, and for another I didn’t like the way they made my head feel. They helped me get some sleep and actually at night-time too, problem is I felt sleepy in the day as well, even with just a half dose. But it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway since they could only be a temporary solution. I’m not quite sure where all this leaves me now or what if anyhing to do next. I’m not keen on the idea of going back there again. I’m not sure listening to someone tell me that at least my speech is good, there must be good things about having autism and that I should just do the things which make me happy is going to help. Great, so I’m capable enough in terms of speech and expressing myself to say that I feel like I don’t want to be alive anymore but I can’t articulate why. And of course I have to live with this, with everything not making sense. I can imagine their answer to that too, things like this don’t make sense to anyone and it’s difficult for everyone. I have no idea if that makes any sense, I hope it’s not descending into rant territory anyway because I said I wouldn’t do that today. I’ve aleady exceeded my rant limit by ranting about Leipzig and last week’s events.

Whatever the answer to any of that there’s one thing I know for definite, I can’t do something because someone else thinks it’s a good idea or it’s what I should be doing. If I write something it has to be because I feel like it. Forcing myself to write could end up making me hate it and were that to happen I’d pretty much be left with nothing. Football is a good interest to have right now but it’s nothing without the stories. If I lost the stories I might actually start to feel lonely. I know I feel a little lonely even with them but not quite so much. At least when there’s always at least one character living in my head then I always have someone to talk to. And I don’t have to worry about what time of day it is. People don’t like being woken up at 4:00am unless it’s a real emergency. And apparently having an existential crisis isn’t an emergency, nor is finding a new Jogi video either.

Normally I would say that the week can’t have been strange because everything is always strange. Yet after last weekend’s events I think I can say just that. I’m not sure what result was more surprising, Dortmund losing 2-1 to Darmstadt or RBL losing 3-0 to HSV. The former resulted in the commentator saying that sometimes things happen in football which can’t be explained. The words stuck with me, as did the fact Darmstadt won at all. Surely given their perilous situation they can’t possibly survive, it makes me wonder if there’s a message in that, sometimes even the loser gets to win. As for HSV that was a different kind of incredible, no-one would have predicted them being the team to breach Fortress Leipzig, or doing it in the way they did. It led to me coining the phrase “Holy Hamburger SV Batman.” Which sums up effectively the weirdness of that situation, and just to make it a little more interesting one of the goals was scored by Kyriakos Papadopoulos who spent some time on loan at RBL earlier this season. He was of course on loan from Leverkusen and he scored against them too. It’s exactly the kind of trivia I love. In that sense I’m glad I still care enough to remember such things. The day I stop caring about random facts and trivia is the day I know all is lost.

Bundesliga 2016/17 Album

Of all the things I’ve been looking forward to this season the new sticker album would come close to topping the list and for two simple reasons, Freiburg being back in the top flight and finally getting a sticker of Nils Petersen as a Freiburg player. I’ve waited two years for the latter and it was worth the wait. As luck would have it I got one of his stickers in the first lot of packets I opened from the blisterpack, the shiny version of him too.  In total I got six Freiburg players from the first lot of stickers, including getting Alexander Schwolow in the first page of the album which made me most unhappy. I wanted to get him from a packet and now I feel cheated of that. As well as Nils and Alex I also got who is shaping up to be my favourite player this season, Turkish defender Caglar Söyüncü. And Vincenzo Grifo, Marc-Oliver Kempf and Aleksandar Ignjovski. From the packets however it wasn’t a Freiburg player who was the first of my favourites to appear, that honour goes to Jonas Hector of 1.FC Köln. Now that I don’t mind, he may not be a Freiburg man but I like him a great deal and I was just as happy get Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski.

I do however have one major complaint with the album, just like the Champions League one it has no sticker of Matthias Ginter or Erik Durm, he  was in there last season but isn’t now. It’s one of two reasons why I have no pictures of the Dortmund page. The other reason is the same one there’s no picture of the Bayern page either, with Freiburg being back in the top flight it’s not necessary. They’re in there and instead VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 suffer the ignomy of having just a sticker for their badge and kits at the back of the album:

20170206_151824 20170206_151647-1 20170206_174353 20170206_174406alexander-schwolow-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker jonas-hector-1-fc-koln-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker caglar-soyuncu-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker aleksandar-ignjovski-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker sc-freiburg-mannschaft-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker marc-oliver-kempf-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker robert-lewandowski-bayern-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker nils-petersen-sc-freiburg-shiny-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker vincenzo-grifo-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker sc-freiburg-trikots-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker thomas-muller-bayern-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker

Advent Calendar Day 22 & 23: The Missing Day & The Book Thief

I really needed today to go perfect, after spending all day yesterday catching up on sleep and the week’s previous events I needed one perfect day at least. I’m happy to say it started out good and for once stayed that way. With getting the two premium packs of FIFA 365 cards in the post I was worried that might turn out to be the high point of the day, a case of starting good but not ending up that way. And to make it even better I got a Philipp Lahm card in the second pack:

20161223_191030-1 philipp-lahm-fifa-365-2016-17-fan-favourite-cardI started writing this post on Friday after I got back, I didn’t get very far though. I was a litle more tired than I thought, so today should actually be yesterday. The point still stands though, the day did go fine.  There were a few minor things I got in a flap about but most of that doesn’t seem so important now. The main thing being the newly configured Christmas market, I read in the news about extra security measures and all that but didn’t really know what that would mean here. It just caught me by surprise, half the stalls not being where I expected them to be. I’m not complaining of course, I understand why, they don’t want any stalls closer to the road than they have to be.

As for everything else I think I’m too tired to be obsessing over anything. Just the other day I was reading about some idiot online who doesn’t believe that social anxiety is a real thing and that people who claim to have it are just nervous really. That it’s normal to feel nervous in new situations or a little uncomfortable at times. There was so many things wrong with what they think I’m not even going to bother to go into it, I don’t want to ruin my day. But there are two points I want to make, I would give anything to just be a little nervous. And secondly anyone who thinks that way should consider this, in a strange way I’m grateful to be so tired today simply because I can’t think straight and thus won’t obsessing over anything that happened yesterday. That’s not to say those things won’t come back and bother me later though, in fact I can guarantee they will. It’s not just about feeling uncomfortable sometimes, for me it’s never feeling comfortable, no matter how well I know someone or how much I trust them. It’s always second guessing myself, always doubting if I’m saying or doing the right thing. It’s the fact the simplest of conversations require so much thought put into them that it’s easier to just never talk at all. Like I said there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to just be a little nervous.

Forget about the bad stuff for now, as well as the cards there’s something else I got yesterday. Everytime I get a little extra money in my pocket I spend it on books, and yesterday was no different. Two of them I’m particularly happy about, not just because of the subject matter but how nice the covers are. I don’t normally take pictures of the books I buy but I’ll make an exception here, they are two delightfully Germanic covers:

20161223_190929-1On the subject of books that brings me to the second topic in the title, my annual re-read of The Book Thief. The plot point which bothered me last time still bothers me a little, yet I want to read it anyway. It’s not so much I don’t care, more that the positives outweigh the one negative point. Reading it again is like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time, like a good friend you accept it’s flaws as being part of them. It’s one of those books I feel like I can never get tired of and each time I read it I get something new from it. I think it’s a very fitting book to be reading now. Not because it’s about Germany, where it takes place is not really relevant to what I’m thinking about, it could be anywhere. It’s the people that are important, not the place. It’s foolish to think that the Holocaust is some uniquely German thing, all people are capable of that level of hate and of acting on it.

Time and time again I’ve tried to work out why it’s one of my favourite books. If it’s because the story is being told by death or because it’s set in Nazi Germany. Actually whilst both those things play a part neither of them are the main reason. I think I know now what that reason is, it’s Liesel’s foster-father, her Papa Hans. And no it’s nothing to do with his name, though I will admit it’s really hard to type Hans and not Hansi. It’s what he does for Liesel, the way he helps her as best he can make sense of the world. It probably doesn’t make much sense to him either but amongst what’s going on he takes care of her, teaching her to read and so much more. I could do with that right now, someone to explain all of this, to make everything make sense. That’s part of it anyway, the other thing is the words themselves, the very topic of the book. But it’s not stealing books which I’m thinking about, rather stealing words.

The Book Thief made me realise it’s something I take for granted, being able to read that is. I never considered what it would be like to find that hard or be unable to read at all. I taught myself to read at a young age and have never liked or needed to be read to. The importance of being able to read can’t be understated, yet it’s not all there is. Reading is one thing, understanding what you’re reading is another thing all together and what I worry about the most. Not just with the written word but in conversation too. There’s one particular event in The Book Thief which really sticks with me, one line which I can never forget. “You can steal a book but you can’t read one.” And it’s how Liesel solves her problem which makes it so memorable to me. Unable to read the book in front of her she starts reciting from memory a chapter from The Gravedigger’s Handbook. Reciting but not necessarily understanding, that’s why it sticks with me. So much of the time I feel like I’m saying and hearing things but not really understanding them. I’m never really quite sure about what I’m saying, or if it makes any sense. It feels like words are my best friend and my biggest enemy at the same time. I hate them but I need them.

That’s enough about books and words for now, just one more day to go, today is the final day of the calendars. At least I don’t have to worry about how the final post will go, I have that all planned out and there won’t be a lot of words in it, there’s no need, the pictures will speak for themselves. But before that is the previous two days, day 22 & 23. Day 22 saw striker Harvard Nielsen make his appearance in the Freiburg calendar and he was followed by Christian Streich who needs no introduction. I won’t have any problem picking  a good picture or GIF of him that’s for sure. And in the Dortmund one was Raphael Guerrerio and Marco Reus:

20161223_190702-1Christian Streich & Amir Abrashi - 1.FCK v SC FreiburgChristian_Streich_celebrates_Freiburg_v_FurthChristian_Streich_goal_celebration_SC_Freiburg_v_1_FC_Union_BerlinChristian Streich - SCF v RBLChristian_Streich_celebrating_promotion_2015_16Christian Streich & Alexander Schwolow – SC Freiburg v Heidenheim 1SC Freiburg - Meister der 2.Bundesliga 2015-16 - Christian Streichchristian_streich_and_nils_petersen_celebrate_sc_freiburg_v_eintracht_frankfurt

Advent Calendar Day 21: Snow King Florian Strikes Again

I wasn’t sure I could enjoy any part of this evening’s games, indeed it took a little while before I could focus on what I was watching. I still felt a little guilty about being so easily distracted but I guess that’s normal. Whilst Tuesday’s round of games were a little disappointing and maybe didn’t offer sufficient distraction Wednesday was very different. I’m certainly glad I chose not to watch the news before the game (a mistake I made the previous night), had I done so it may have ruined what came after. Both games which were of most interest delivered not only on their promise of distraction and entertainment but in giving me exactly what I wanted. Three points a piece for Bayern and Freiburg from their respective games, and Leipzig being given no chance of resuming their brief stay at the top of the table. They I’m very happy to say are not the winter champions. It pains me to say they were last season, with them having a three point lead on Freiburg in the 2.Bundesliga table but they couldn’t repeat the feat in the top flight. I didn’t get my Christmas wish last year but I have now, it may seem unambitious in comparison to what Leipzig are aiming for but I don’t care. Freiburg are in the top half of the table and will stay there for another month. They are very far off from the position they were in two years ago, back then they were in the relegation zone and it’s where they spent the winter break. It’s nowhere near where they are now:

bundesliga-table-md16-2016-17

In their final game before the Christmas break in 2014 they played Hannover and drew 2-2, conceding a late goal which thanks to a technical fault I didn’t get to see. Matter of fact I still haven’t seen that goal, I guess some things you don’t need to see. There is one good thing from that game, the two players who scored the goals, Mike Frantz and Marc-Oliver Kempf are still part of the squad. This time round they faced Ingolstadt who are doing their best to do what Freiburg were doing two years ago, avoiding relegation. As the title suggests it was Florian Niederlechner who scored the winning goal, actually he scored both of them. It didn’t snow but that doesn’t matter, I like calling him a snow king. Nils didn’t start again which is always disappointing, even more so is that he didn’t get to add to his tally when he did come on. In his absence it fell to Niederlechner to take the penalty, and in scoring those two goals he got his first Bundesliga brace. It wasn’t an easy game and they worked hard for those three points, Schwolow like he did in the previous two games at his best to keep the score as it was towards the end. One final thing I have to mention about Hannover, neither they nor Stuttgart get the honour of being winter champions either. Both of them being overtaken in the table by Eintracht Braunschweig. Something which makes me happy for two reasons, firstly Braunschweig are my promotion pick for the season and secondly I don’t want them getting something Freiburg didn’t get.

Speaking of getting something Freiburg didn’t Bayern did that and then some, putting three goals past Leipzig and not just beating them but taking them apart. I know it’s wrong to enjoy someone else’s misfortune (not least when it’s Freiburg who face Bayern next) but I make an exception when it comes to Leipzig. As always Neuer celebrated the goal as he usually does, the GIF isn’t quite as good as the other celebatory ones of him but I had to make it:

manuel_neuer_celebrates_bayern_v_rbl_2016_17Same as I had to add some pictures of Florian and one of Nils to complete the set:

florian-niederlechner-ingolstadt-v-sc-freiburg-2016-17-1 florian-niederlechner-ingolstadt-v-sc-freiburg-2016-17-2florian-niederlechner-ingolstadt-v-sc-freiburg-2016-17-3florian-niederlechner-ingolstadt-v-sc-freiburg-2016-17-4 nils-petersen-ingolstadt-v-sc-freiburg-2016-17It’s funny in a way, I’m totally focused on football after being unable to stop thinking about bad stuff and now the football is over. I’ll have to find something else to occupy myself with until the 20th January. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, it’s only 29 days without football. To be more precise without German football. The time will most likely fly by, if these past few weeks are anything to go by I won’t even notice it, let alone remember.

I don’t know how much of that I’ll remember but for the next few days there’s one thing I can’t forget, the last few days of the advent calendars. Day 21 saw defender Marc-Oliver Kempf make his appearance which is excellent timing on his part, seeing as how I was just talking about the Hannover game in which he scored the first goal. Though to be honest there’s not a bad time for him to make his appearance, he’s the kind of person I’d always be happy to see. In the Dortmund calendar was midfielder Felix Passlack whose last appearance for Dortmund was in the crazy 8-4 win against Legia Warsaw, in fact he scored the seventh goal. And because it’s Marc-Oliver’s day I think the GIF of him and Grifo dancing should make a reappearance, it’s so good it should be used twice:

Grifo_Kempf_dance_SC_Freiburg_v_1860Marc-Oliver Kempf – SC Freiburg v KSCMarc-Oliver Kempf & Nils Petersen – Braunschweig v SC Freiburg 3SC Freiburg - Meister der 2.Bundesliga 2015-16 - Christian Streich & Marc-Oliver Kempf20161222_033427-1