Remember Freiburg’s sensational turn around under Christian Streich in the second half of last season? Have you been keeping an eye on the club’s incredible run this season? Well, if you haven’t, you may well have no idea who Matthias Ginter is.
After having spent four years in the 2.Bundesliga, Freiburg finally returned to the top flight in the 2009-10 season under Robin Dutt’s regime. Dutt’s Freiburg proved to be a consistent side, staying safe from relegation. Dutt’s departure to Bayer Leverkusen, saw the appointment of Marcus Sorg as the Freiburg head coach.
Under Sorg’s tutelage, Freiburg went through a horrific phase, earning just thirteen points in seventeen games. The board decided that Sorg, ultimately, wasn’t the man for the club and promoted assistant coach Christian Streich to the top. With Streich at the helm, Freiburg have played efficient and impressive football to such an extent that they currently hold dreams of fighting for a Champions League spot.
It was under Streich that Matthias Ginter was brought into the limelight at the Mage-Solar Stadion. Up until December 2011, Ginter had been with the Freiburg U-19 side, where he played in a variety of positions including attacking midfield and support striker. In fact, the lanky youngster made his Bundesliga debut as an attacking midfielder in Streich’s very first game as manager. To everybody’s surprise, this then 18-year-old, latched onto a free kick from Michael Lumb and turned the ball into the back of the net, thereby becoming the youngest ever goalscorer for the side from the Black Forest.
Ginter hasn’t looked back ever since, becoming a crucial figure in Streich’s side, forming a solid partnership with Fallou Diagne. In the eleven starts that Ginter made last season, Freiburg lost just two games and conceded justthirteen goals. Thanks to the stability brought about by Streich’s tactics and the brilliance of players like Ginter, Freiburg avoided relegation with consummate ease.
The current season started on the same sweet note for Freiburg and young Matthias Ginter. Ginter was ever present for the “Bresigau Brazilians”, proving to be their brightest defender up until injury struck in late October. The 19-year-old has been sidelined ever since, but should return to action sometime later this season. This injury layoff will prove to be a test of the youngster’s mettle but after all that he has displayed so far, there is no doubt that he will return stronger than ever before.
Ginter’s international career is yet to take off in a similar fashion to that at club level, having made three appearances at Under-19 level and six at Under-18 level. Although far from making any serious inroads into the senior national team, Ginter will surely be hoping to be an inclusion in the side for the 2014 World Cup.
An added advantage in favor of Ginter will be his positional versatility. Having played almost in every position on the field, Joachim Löw would undoubtedly love to have this youngster within his ranks. With the likes of Badstuber and Boateng as yet unable to prove themselves at the top level, could Ginter soon form a centre-back pairing along with Mats Hummels? A tough and winding path lies ahead of Ginter but, with a lot of dedication, he could really hit the heights.