Freiburg borrow Philipp Lienhart from Real Madrid
Philipp Lienhart at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. | Photo: SC Freiburg.

SC Freiburg have announced that they have signed Philipp Lienhart on loan from Real Madrid, with an option to buy outright.

The captain of Austria’s under-21s will looking to use his time in Germany to gain experience in one of Europe’s top leagues at one of the best clubs for developing young talent.

Plenty of opportunities with Castilla

The 20-year-old central defender has been with Real since 2014, when he played for their under-19 team on loan from SK Rapid Wien. The arrangement was made permanent the following summer, with Lienhart stepping up to play for Real Madrid Castilla.

His manager with Real’s second team was initially Zinédine Zidane, before the French legend became first team manager during the course of that season. Playing regularly in Spain’s third tier, he was also given a brief glimpse of first team football by Rafael Benítez in a Copa Del Ray tie against Cádiz CF in December 2015.

Although he has not had any more opportunities of that nature since then, he has gone on to appear 53 times for Castilla, whilst earning 18 caps for Austria at under-21 level, becoming captain at the beginning of 2017.

A chance to develop further

Speaking as Freiburg confirmed that Lienhart would join them for the next year, sporting director Klemens Hartenbach said that he was “a young and capable defender” who had impressive with his “focused and clear style of play.” He added that it was “important” for Freiburg to have the opportunity to help his development next season.

Lienhart himself said that he had “quickly felt that Freiburg was the place for me for the next steps,” and that he was “looking forward to the challenges” with the club.

No further details regarding his contract have been announced. He is the first fresh face for Freiburg this summer, with their only incomings so far being the permanent signings of Pascal Stenzel and Florian Niederlechner following their respective loan spells.

Quotes via SC Freiburg.