Ahead of Friday night’s Bundesliga clash, GGFN’s Jon Mackenzie previews the clash between Freiburg and Leipzig at the Schwarzwald-Stadion.
A year ago, Freiburg and Leipzig was fixture in 2.Bundesliga. Since finishing in the top two spots in that league, though, their respective fortunes have changed markedly. For Leipzig, as per their sponsor’s tag line, life in the top division has given them wings: unbeaten in 11 games with their recent win away at Leverkusen putting them the right side of a 6 win streak in Germany’s top division. On top of their win at the Bayer Arena last week, wins at Wolfsburg and SV Darmstadt put Leipzig on a run of three wins away from home. This form has been enough to put the Bundesliga ingénues top of the table.
For Freiburg, on the other hand, their entry to the top tier has taken a different form: a 4-2 loss at Mainz last weekend means that Freiburg have now suffered two successive losses with an aggregated goals conceded tally of 7. Whilst their mid-table position means that they will have no real cause for concern as of yet, the Freiburgers will be wary lest losing becomes habitual. Add to this the long-term injury of their top scorer, Maximilian Philipp, and the next few months could be a little nervy for the Breisgau-Brasilianers. They will, however, take some comfort from the fact that four of their five victories in the Bundesliga so far this season have come at home: they will be looking to press this home advantage on Friday.
As mentioned, the most notable absentee as far as Freiburg are concerned will be Maximilian Philipp. Nils Petersen is expected to deputise for him and will hope to make an impression given the length of Philipp’s injury. With Manuel Gulde not yet fully fit, Marc Torrejón and Caglar Söyüncü will most likely continue to start at centre-back for Freiburg. Given the suspension of Christian Günter at left-back, Jonas Föhrenbach should be the first option to replace him. Onur Bulut and Janik Haberer are both possible options to start on the right wing, although it is expected that Mike Frantz will keep his place.
With Bernardo’s injury woes continuing, Stefan Ilsanker should replace him at right-back once again. Beyond this, though, it could be the case that Ralph Hasenhüttl keeps his team unchanged for the first time in this campaign.
Prediction: Freiburg 1-2 Leipzig
Freiburg need to work hard to prevent any slippage into a freefall down the table. Whilst they create chances, their defensive fragilities are becoming apparent, necessitating a shoring up of their back line. They also suffer from a loss of defensive organisation after they lose the ball. Leipzig will hope to continue their good form and are likely to press their opposition hard from the outset. It is hard, then, to see this as anything short of another Leipzig victory.
SC Freiburg: Schwolow; Stenzel, Torrejón, Söjüncü, Föhrenbach; Frantz, Höfler, Abrashi, Grifo; Petersen; Niederlechner.
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi; Ilsanker, Orban, Compper, Halstenberg; Keita, Demme; Sabitzer, Forsberg; Poulsen, Werner.
Where to Watch:
The game kicks off at 20:30 CET/19:30 GMT on November 25th. The game is live on BT Sport 3 or, if you are watching in America, you can catch the game on FOX Sports USA 2.