Tuesday, November 30

Lucas Höler: The wages of agony

Lucas Höler always tormented himself. But his will and his fighting spirit ultimately led him to SC Freiburg. Thanks to good advice from coach Christian Streich, for some he is even a candidate for the national team.

Some time ago, several posters were hanging north of Bremen, more precisely in Schwanewede. They should help bring children to FC Hansa Schwanewede: play football instead of lounging on the street. The jubilant Lucas Höler appeared on the posters in a light blue away shirt from SC Freiburg. And next to him, in white and gold letters, a saying: “YOU can do it too!”

Not a high-flyer

Hardly any other story of a Bundesliga professional is as suitable for encouraging young, ambitious footballers as that of Lucas Höler. He is not a high-flyer, not a talent of the century, he was never trained in a youth training center. The 27-year-old has developed step by step, from village kicker to Bundesliga player. “With an iron will,” as his father Ralf says.

Höler started out as a libero

Lucas Höler came to FC Hansa Schwanewede at the age of four. In the beginning, his father remembers, he played as a sweeper. “Number five. He cut everything off,” says Ralf Höler and laughs. Soon he was allowed to play with the older ones. “That helped him incredibly in a duel.” As a teenager he moved to better clubs, played in the A-youth at Blumenthaler SV in the north of Bremen, for which he attracted attention with 30 goals in the Regionalliga, now as a midfielder.

Unwavering upwards

During this time, Höler had a number of trial training sessions at professional clubs, such as Werder Bremen and even SC Freiburg. Again and again they turned him down. “As a father, I always said to him afterwards in the car: I see it differently. You kept up well. I don’t know what their problem is.”

Lucas Höler was not deterred. His path led to VfB Oldenburg in the fourth division, where former Bundesliga coach Alexander Nouri reprogrammed him to be a striker. Then to Martin Schmidt and the FSV Mainz II – 3rd league. Then to SV Sandhausen – 2nd Bundesliga. In January 2018 he moved to SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga. At the end of April of the same year, he scored his first Bundesliga goal. The 3: 2 against Cologne in the third minute of stoppage time. “He never took a step back,” says his father.

Lucas Höler’s pattern of success

He had to struggle with difficult situations again and again on his way. When he moved from VfB Oldenburg to the second team of FSV Mainz 05, almost overnight, and couldn’t even say goodbye to his father, he had to get along alone in a strange city, in a strange, empty apartment. “It wasn’t easy for him,” says Ralf Höler. At the time, he made him laugh with video messages. And his son, once again, did not let himself get down.

The pattern is always the same: Lucas Höler comes to a new club, bites his way, gives everything, listens carefully to his coaches, tries to implement everything that is asked of him, is accepted by his teammates – and takes the next step. That’s how it was in Mainz, that’s how it was in Sandhausen, that’s how it is in Freiburg.

Defamed on social networks

He also had to go through a difficult phase in Breisgau. Right at the beginning, he was violently attacked on social media, insulted. “That was a very sad thing,” says his father, who also read the abuse at the time. Freiburg coach Christian Streich, whom Höler had approached at the time, took him under protection and advised him not to read anything about it. “Mr. Streich is an experienced man who can convey that the boys believe in him and in themselves,” says Ralf Höler.

Became a regular at SC Freiburg

And son Lucas feels very much at home in Freiburg, with Prank and his teammates. “It’s a great bunch,” he said after the win in Wolfsburg on matchday nine, where he scored 2-0. Höler has matured to become a regular player this season, having scored three goals and presented three in the Bundesliga. He is the foremost defender at the SC, and runs at opponents skillfully. Christian Streich says of him: “Lucas has made a very, very good development because his character is an extraordinary person and because he is a worker, a fighter and a good footballer.”

Höler as a national player?

Recently, TV expert Dietmar Hamann even brought Höler into discussion for the national team. Streich, approached by a journalist, said: “Well, it wasn’t that long ago with Lucas Höler that he was attacked so repeatedly on social media that you had to be really afraid of what would happen to the boy. And now come them and talk about the national team. ” One should just leave him alone with such things now.

“I don’t think he cares,” says his father. “But I said for myself a year and a half ago: He’ll manage that too.”

Lucas Höler’s posters are no longer hanging in Bremen North. A storm tore them apart. If the striker actually makes it into the national team, new ones should actually be printed again. This time with Lucas Höler in the DFB jersey.


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