The reason for this is fairly obvious. Caligiuri sported the Freiburg shirt from 2005-2013 and came through the ranks as a talented youngster at the club. “I had an incredible time in Freiburg and have a huge amount to thank the club for,” he said. He also has a special place in the SC fans’ hearts. On hearing the announcing of the Schalke line-up ahead of the match, applause ringed around the stadium for the number 18’s name. However he put his close ties with the club to one side once the game got underway.
Caligiuri’s habit of scoring against his old club
That the former Freiburg man netted the winner in this fixture is something one might have seen coming, since this is not the first time that Caligiuri has punished his former club. His brace in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 victory over SC three years ago highlights the way in which he always maintains his professionalism when facing his past employer. “It is always great to score a goal and the fact that this one won the game makes it even sweeter,” said the 29-year-old.
However earning victory in the Schwarzwald-Stadion was no easy feat. “Freiburg really tested us,” Max Meyer admitted. “They hadn’t lost a single game on home turf this season. That shows how difficult it is to come here.” Until their clash with Schalke, the hosts were unbeaten in 11 matches at home. “That is why it is always tricky when you play here,” stressed Domenico Tedesco. “At the end of the day, we can be happy that we won the game.”
Tedesco satisfied with win
Despite coming out on top in the end, Freiburg controlled the game for the first 25 minutes and restricted Schalke to having barely any impact. With the exception of Yevhen Konoplyanka’s strike hitting the post before the break, the hosts, who managed to dominate, hit the woodwork twice themselves. “We then changed things up at half-time and were better after that,” revealed Tedesco.
Schalke certainly had a stroke of luck in their goal, with Christian Günter’s touch on Daniel Caligiuri’s shot providing a decisive deflection, leaving SC keeper Alexander Schwolow with no chance. “I played with Christian Günter for many years. It is definitely a strange coincidence that it was him who deflected my shot in,” said Caligiuri, whose aim had been to hit the back of the net more often and he was rewarded for his efforts. “There was clearly a lot of luck involved but that’s just the way it is. If you don’t shoot, you can’t score,” said the midfield man.
The team will be hoping to add to their goal tally for the season once they return from the international break to take on Hamburger SV at home. “We now have two weeks to prepare for this game,” said Bastian Oczipka. Ralf Fährmann added that “we now need to carry on working hard. We will get what we deserve if we do that. You can see that we are moving forward step by step and every victory gives us more confidence.” Whether by luck or not, it is the three points that count. Oczipka will not care that “it was a scrappy victory this time!”