Interview: SC Freiburg and Italy playmaker Vincenzo Grifo

Christian Streich’s SC Freiburg currently stand 13th in the Bundesliga courtesy of registering 24 points from 22 Bundesliga games this term. SC Freiburg, who finished 15th in the Bundesliga last season with 36 points, have taken seven points from their last seven league games in 2018/2019, which has witnessed the club delivering just one win in their last seven, whilst dropping 14 points during this period.
In SC Freiburg’s previous Bundesliga encounter, a stalemate 0-0 away draw with FC Schalke 04 inside the Veltins-Arena on February 16, Streich’s side had 55.3% of the possession compared to FC Schalke 04’s 44.7%, whereas SC Freiburg registered three shots on goal from 12 attempts overall during the contest. Conversely, FC Schalke 04 registered two shots on target and had 12 shot attempts overall.
Both FC Schalke 04 and SC Freiburg were reduced to ten men in a game which typified a relatively frustrating encounter between the two sides, who similarly are both currently hovering not too distant from the Bundesliga relegation zone.
SC Freiburg, however, who narrowly survived the Bundesliga’s relegation play-offs by three points last season, finished 7th place in the Bundesliga two seasons ago under Streich. At present, however, SC Freiburg aim to turn around their Bundesliga season throughout the remaining months of the pivotal second half of the Bundesliga season, as well as invariably avoiding relegation for the second season consecutively.
SC Freiburg have scored 10 goals and conceded 13 at the other end in their last seven matches, whilst remaining nine points adrift from relegation threatened VfB Stuttgart, who finished seventh in the Bundesliga last term, yet are currently languishing in 16th place after registering a measly 15 points from 22 games. SC Freiburg elsewhere have scored 29 goals and conceded 37 throughout the current Bundesliga campaign.
Meanwhile, SC Freiburg’s next seven Bundesliga fixtures are against: FC Augsburg (February 23), Bayer 04 Leverkusen (March 2), Hertha Berlin (March 9), Borussia Monchengladbach (March 15), Bayern Munich (March 30), 1. FSV Mainz 05 (April 5) and Werder Bremen (April 13).
Before SC Freiburg’s Bundesliga encounter this Saturday afternoon at the 24,000 capacity Schwarzwald-Stadion against FC Augsburg, FOX Sports Radio 96.9 FM/1340 AM’s Dean Perretta briefly caught up with SC Freiburg and Italy Attacking Midfielder/Winger, Vincenzo Grifo, to discuss the SC Freiburg’s expectations and goals for the second half of the Bundesliga season, coupled alongside Grifo’s thoughts on making his much-awaited international debut for Italy under the managerial guidance of Roberto Mancini, as well as the German-born playmaker sharing his very own personal highlights of the 2018/2019 Bundesliga campaign.

Dean Perretta: Vincenzo, what are the key expectations and goals for SC Freiburg in the second half of the Bundesliga season?

Vincenzo Grifo: The team shall be in this part of the season of a certain class and we players want to make that clear as quickly as possible. For me personally, it just goes back to it on the pitch and have fun at football. For me, it just felt from day one as if I had never been away. The first games were good – although we are not properly rewarded for the services and had not brought enough points that we could have had.

Dean Perretta: What are your thoughts about the managerial philosophy and the tactical acumen of Christian Streich?

Vincenzo Grifo: I have to thank Christian Streich much. In my two years in Freiburg, I have matured, both as an athlete and in human terms. The coach always finds the right words and he has criticized, I suppose, because I want to learn a lot. That was with me before, but was not always the case in my career. 

Dean Perretta: How would you describe the current atmosphere and the confidence in the training camp at SC Freiburg?

Vincenzo Grifo: Freiburg has always lived by the team results and unity. We spend a lot of time together, going for example after training together for food. You can feel the strength from all sides and the boys have shown me class. Here we are constantly working with players individually. That makes everyone better. This certainly also makes us as a team strong.

Dean Perretta: Can you describe the primary highlights of the Bundesliga season for you personally thus far?

Vincenzo Grifo: My season with SC Freiburg is still quite young. That it worked in their first home game against VfL Wolfsburg with one important goal was sensational. The month before that, was not an easy time for my family and my friends; all the better to see their happy faces in the stands. And of course, the (international) debut was a very special personal highlight in the Italian national team. 

Dean Perretta: Finally, can speak about your international debut for Roberto Mancini’s Italy against the United States most recently?

Vincenzo Grifo: When I was the age of five with my parents in Italy, it was the only thing my brothers and I wanted to have – one of those replica jerseys of the Italian national team. The three boys had pleaded with our mom and ultimately everyone was allowed to choose one (jersey). To bear the real (Italy) jersey 20 years later (as an Italy player), that was indescribable. I had a few good actions (against the United States), we won the game and I got good feedback. After the game, I’m still driving at night with my parents from Belgium to home. Time went by so fast as never before, because I have only talk the whole trip. 

Dean Perretta

Dean Perretta is a 2x SEA Award-winning creative, Broadcast Journalist, Reporter, Courtside Analyst for BBC televised London Lions and Executive Producer who currently contributes to FOX Sports Radio, FourFourTwo Magazine and Muscle & Fitness Magazine.