Nuernberg coach Gertjan Verbeek has been asked by the German Football Association (DFB) to explain the comments he made after clashing with Freiburg counterpart Christian Streich during a bizarre turn of events on Saturday.
Freiburg saw off Nuernberg 3-2, with the three points moving Streich’s side five points clear of the drop zone. The defeat for Nuernberg, meanwhile, leaves them with just a two-point lead over 16th-placed Stuttgart and 17th-placed Hamburg.
Streich had been warmly received during the 2012-13 campaign, in which he led Freiburg into the Europa League and only just missed out on a place in the Champions League on the final day of the season.
During the summer, however, Freiburg’s team fell apart when several key players, including Max Kruse, left the club.
They then failed to make it past this term’s Europa League group stage, and have been struggling for results in Bundesliga since the beginning of the season.
Despite steering his side clear of the drop zone by picking up 10 points in the last four matches, Streich has clashed with referees throughout the campaign.
The German media has become impatient with the coach, whose interviews have moved on from the light-heartedness of the previous season towards a darker tone, with constant claims that Freiburg have not been favoured by referees. Sections of the media have criticised Streich for his “conspiracy theories.”
On Saturday, Streich caused controversy once again after clashing with Verbeek on the sidelines.
Verbeek was infuriated by his opposite number’s behaviour during the game, leading him to tell Sky Deutschland aftwerwards: “That’s not a colleague. I have never experienced a colleague as impudent as him.”
Verbeek told the TV station that Streich made comments towards the Nuernberg bench for the full 90 minutes.
“How he got to me was brutal, impudent and without any respect,” Verbeek said, before refusing to attend his postmatch news conference. “I don’t want to sit next to this man [Streich].”
Verbeek also hit out at the referee, saying: “If a player is that bad, he doesn’t play in the next game. That means he [the referee] should no longer officiate. The German FA has to take measures against this, but they don’t do it, they only defend.”
Verbeek’s comments angered the DFB, which announced on Monday that it has opened an investigation against the Nuernberg coach.
During Streich’s news conference, he labelled Verbeek a bad loser, saying: “It hurts that somebody wants to disguise the defeat like that. That is obviously a case of using politics to discredit us, most of all me. That is unbelievably presumptuous.”
When the news conference came to a close, things took another bizarre twist.
A Nuernberg fan had snuck into the event using a press pass issued to an editor of a local paper, and told Streich: “Mr Streich, I only wanted to say that Mr Verbeek will have his reasons for not attending the news conference, and I think all of that will be resolved. And should someone get relegated, it’ll be SC Freiburg and not 1.FC Nuernberg.”
The Freiburg media officer replied: “Are you a journalist?”
“There will be only one team getting relegated: SC Freiburg! FCN! FCN! And that’s all!” the fan responded.
“I am not sure what kind of media we have here. We’ve now come to a close,” the media officer then said, with Streich shaking his head and commenting: “That lowered the tone.”