Bayern Munich will look to maintain their impressive run of form as they host SC Freiburg at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Bayern Munich will host SC Freiburg on Saturday, hoping to extend their winning run to five games. They will also be presented with a slight chance of overtaking league leaders Borussia Dortmund this weekend, should the Black and Yellows lose against Wolfsburg on the same day.
The Bavarians have looked pretty solid following the end of the international break last month, securing four consecutive wins in all competitions, latest of which came against SV Rodinghausen in the DFB Pokal this midweek.
However, head coach Niko Kovac will be worried about his side’s lack of defensive discipline, having kept only one clean sheet in their last six matches in all competitions.
SC Freiburg, on the other hand, are arguably the most unpredictable team in the league, who are coming on the back of a 3-1 triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend. That being said, the club from the Black Forest were knocked out of the DFB Cup in midweek by Holsten Kiel, which will be a huge disappointment for Christian Streich’s men.
Freiburg are currently floating in the eleventh spot in the league table with 12 points on the board. But, a surprise three points on Saturday could potentially lift them to the top half of the table. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their highly-anticipated encounter this weekend.
Team news & tactics
Niko Kovac is expected to make a host of changes from the side that registered a narrow win over Rodinghausen in midweek. While Manuel Neuer will remain in goal, Joshua Kimmich will return to the side as the right-back with David Alaba featuring on the opposite flank.
Mats Hummels will also return after being rested in midweek. The German international will play a key role in central defence alongside Niklas Sule, who has arguably been the most impressive central defender for Bayern this season.
In midfield, Javi Martinez will be relieved of his duties as a centre-back and will thus, feature in his preferred defensive midfield position. He will be accompanied by Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez at the base of Bayern’s 4-3-3. Thomas Muller will once again start on the bench, although he might play a key role later in the second half.
Thiago’s ability to rotate possession as well as his excellent technical qualities could be important as Bayern look to evade Freiburg’s intensive pressing.
Arjen Robben, on the other hand, will be available for selection after serving a one-match ban last weekend. The Dutchman will occupy the wider attacking roles along with Franck Ribery, both of whom will be tasked with the responsibility of making runs in behind the Freiburg defence.
And finally, the Bayern attack will be led by none other than Robert Lewandowski, who was rested against Rodinghausen in midweek. The Polish international has been in sensational form, of late, and will be the danger man for the Bavarians this weekend.
Probable lineups(4-3-3): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Thiago, Martinez, Rodriguez; Robben, Lewandowski, Ribery.
Christian Streich will deploy his signatory 4-4-2 formation against Bayern as Freiburg look to defend in narrow, deep-blocks in order to prevent their opponents from manoeuvring the ball around the final third. Nils Petersen and Luca Waldschmidt will be deployed forward, both of whom are expected to form the first line of press for the visitors this weekend.
In midfield, Robin Koch and Nicolas Hofler will start at the base of Freiburg’s 4-4-2 with Janik Haberer and Mike Frantz occupying the wide midfield roles.
However, both Frantz and Haberer are expected to operate narrowly in order to support the central midfielders and also to add numerical superiority in the centre of the pitch.
And finally, Freiburg’s four-man defensive backline will consist of Pascal Stenzel, Philipe Lienhart, Dominique Heintz and Christian Gunter. Stenzel is a pacy fullback, who will serve a key role on the flanks as he aims to nullify the threat provided by David Alaba while Gunter will remain deep and indulge in most of the dirty work around the penalty box.
Alexander Schwolow will start in goal for Freiburg this weekend. The former Arminia Bielefeld keeper has made the fourth most number of saves in the league this season.
Probable lineup(4-4-2): Schwolow; Stenzel, Lienhart, Heintz, Gunter; Haberer, Koch, Hofler, Frantz; Petersen, Waldschmidt.
- Bayern have a strong record against Freiburg, winning 21 of their last 24 matches in all competitions. They have also scored at least 4 goals in their last three games against Breisgau-Brasilianer.
- Freiburg have a dismal away record in the Bundesliga, failing to win in 13 of their last 14 matches.
- Kovac has never beaten Freiburg as a coach. In four meetings with them as Eintracht Frankfurt boss, he picked up just two points. On the other hand, counterpart Streich has never lost to Kovac.
- Nils Petersen scored twice in nine games for Bayern between 2011 and ’13. If he scores once more for Freiburg he will become their joint-top Bundesliga goalscorer, alongside Papiss Cisse on 37 goals.
- Freiburg have only lost one of their last seven Bundesliga games, and are unbeaten in their last three.
Player to watch
As iterated earlier, Thiago will have an important role to play in evading Freiburg’s intense pressing throughout the course of the game. The Spaniard is blessed with immense technical qualities which is coupled with fluidic movements and dynamic play in the final third.
Therefore, he has the quality to prevail against a hard-working Freiburg side, who will be relying on their defensive solidity as they look to cause an upset this weekend. However, following a strenuous game against Rodinghausen in midweek, it will be interesting to see how Thiago copes with the challenge of dealing with an intense Freiburg press.
Bayern Munich 0-0 SC Freiburg
It’s probably safe to say that Bayern Munich haven’t been the most clinical teams in the league this season, which was evident in their narrow win over Rodinghausen on Tuesday. And their lack of accuracy in front of goal could seriously haunt them against a young Freiburg side, who can work hard and work collectively. Therefore, we predict a goalless draw this weekend.