Bayern Munich will be keen to retain their position at the top of the Bundesliga table as they travel to Freiburg on Saturday.
After an erratic Hinrunde campaign, Bayern Munich have managed to turn things around in the Bundesliga this year. And the German champions will be looking to continue their excellent run of form when they travel to Schwarzwald-Stadion to face SC Freiburg on Saturday.
The Bavarians are level on points with second-placed Borussia Dortmund but are leading due to a superior goal difference. However, any mishap against a tricky Freiburg side will allow the Black and Yellows to regain their place at the top of the table.
That being said, the visitors are on fiery form at the moment, having scored as many as 17 goals in their last three Bundesliga matches. Their most recent victory came against 1. FSV Mainz 05 when they swept aside the Carnival outfit 6-0 at home.
As for Freiburg, they are currently dawdling in a mid-table position with just 31 points on the board. But, the club from the Black Forest is definitely one of the trickiest and unpredictable sides in the league, who are more than capable of causing an upset this weekend.
Christian Streich’s men have remained unbeaten in their last two matches, which included a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin and the German mastermind will at least be eyeing a point as they host the mighty Bayern Munich this weekend.
And, here at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both the sides ahead of their much-anticipated clash in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Team News & Tactics
Streich will miss out on the services of a host of key players including Tim Kleindienst, Florian Kath, Manuel Gulde and Robin Koch. Lukas Kubler and Roland Sallai are also injured while Philipp Lienhart is doubtful to start versus Bayern this weekend. Nils Petersen picked up an injury during training and is set to miss out as well.
Therefore, the 53-year-old will be restricted in making too many changes to the side that drew with Borussia Moenchengladbach in the last game, especially in the defensive department, where Pascal Stenzel, Keven Schlotterbeck, Dominic Heintz and Christian Gunter will all retain their place in the starting lineup.
While it’s almost guaranteed that Streich will stick to his preferred 4-4-2 shape against Bayern this weekend, both the fullbacks in Gunter and Stenzel could be used as auxiliary centre-backs.
Thus, we could expect the wide midfielders in Janik Haberer and Vincenzo Grifo to operate in a deeper role than usual although the latter will be Freiburg’s main source of creativity going forward. Indeed, the Italian has been involved in seven goals since rejoining Freiburg in January and his performance could go a long way in depicting the fate of his team.
Mike Frantz, on the other hand, will retain his place in central midfield alongside the robust Amir Abrashi, who will be tasked with the responsibility of breaking Bayern’s rhythm in the middle of the park.
In Petersen’s absence Luka Waldschmidt will lead the line alongside Florian Niederlechner, whose impressive work-ethic could be important in Freiburg’s first line of press.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Schwolow; Stenzel, Schlotterbeck, Heintz, Gunter; Haberer, Abrashi, Frantz, Grifo; Niederlechner, Waldschmidt
Niko Kovac may have to make a lot of changes in the midweek fixture against 1. FC Heidenheim, meaning the Croatian is likely to deploy his strongest team in this crucial match this weekend.
Mats Hummels could get the nod ahead of Jerome Boateng at the heart of the four-man backline. He will be partnered by the ever-present figure of Niklas Sule. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba are also guaranteed starters in the fullback slots and both the players will be looking to make an impression ahead of Der Klassiker next weekend.
Javi Martinez could once again miss out, paving the way for Thiago Alcantara to start as the holding midfielder. The Spaniard will look to keep things tidy with his remarkable ball distribution but may have a rough time up against Abrashi.
Elsewhere, James Rodriguez bagged a hat-trick in the last game and is destined to start alongside Leon Goretzka in the advanced midfield roles. The Colombian international will look to team up with Bayern’s wide players in Thomas Muller and Kingsley Coman as they Bavarians look to breach past a sturdy Freiburg defence this weekend.
And finally, the Bayern Munich attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski, who is currently the league’s top scorer with 18 goals.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Alcantara; Muller, Rodriguez, Goretzka, Coman; Lewandowski
- Freiburg have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 3 home matches against Bayern in all competitions.
- Bayern have a strong record over Freiburg, remaining undefeated in 27 out of their 28 matches in all competitions.
- SC Freiburg have lost just once in their last seven Bundesliga matches, with their only defeat coming against Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 24.
- Freiburg’s 7-0 loss to Bayern back in 2011 remains their biggest ever defeat in the German top-flight.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Bayern‘s last 10 away games.
Player to Watch
As mentioned earlier, Rodriguez has been on a fine run of form in recent months, having been involved in as many as seven goals in his last six Bundesliga matches.
His ability to carve out the opposition defence with his sublime quality on the ball coupled with excellent vision could prove to be troublesome for the Freiburg defence, who are already decimated by injuries.
And given his current run for form, it’s probably fair to say that the Colombian will remain the focal point of the Bayern attack as they look to oust Freiburg on Saturday.
SC Freiburg 0-3 Bayern Munich
Even though Freiburg are famously known for their rigid defensive line under Streich, it’s unlikely that they will be able to hold off pressure from the mighty Bayern attack, who have been in tremendous form in recent months. Thus, we at The Hard Tackle expect a comprehensive 3-0 win for the visitors in this one.