Manuel Veth –
Freiburg vs Bayern Munich – Wednesday, December 18, 19:30GMT/20:30CET – Schwarzwald-Stadion, Freiburg, Germany
SC Freiburg felt hard done by on Saturday. The Breisgau Brazilianer have been the Bundesliga surprise team this season but lost narrowly 1-0 to Hertha Berlin on the weekend.
On balance, Freiburg were the better team, once again underlining that they deserve ranking in Germany’s top six at the moment. The side coached by Christian Streich, however, lacked efficiency against the club from the capital on Saturday.
“Normally, you can’t lose a game like that,” Streich said to the German station ZDF after the game. “I am pretty angry,” Streich admitted. Freiburg had 62% possession and completed 83% of its passes. “We have to be more direct with our possession and passes,” Christian Günter said.
“I will not criticize my players,” Streich said. “Their performances have been sensational. But perhaps we have to seek more one-v-one duels, play quick one-twos to create more chances.” Streich is right. What Freiburg have been playing this season has been sensational, but at the same time, there is a sense that the current edition of the Breisgau Brazilianer is not quite at their limit.
That limit will be tested on Wednesday when they face Bayern Munich and league’s most prominent Brazilian Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho was sensational against Werder Bremen on Saturday (see below). His three goals played a big part in Bayern’s 6-1 victory over Werder Bremen.
An essential result on the back of two 2-1 defeats in the Bundesliga. Defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach were a big reason why Bayern head coach Hansi Flick opted to limit his rotation against Tottenham in the Champions League.
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The idea was to regain confidence against a depleted Tottenham side. The trick worked, Bayern smashed the North London side once again and took the momentum into the game against Bremen. Die Werderaner scored first in the game, Bayern once again struggled to make their chances count until Coutinho scored his first, after that the floodgates opened for a 6-1 win.
Three important points for interims head coach Hansi Flick. The coach now seems to be secure in his position until the summer when Bayern. Something that has been well received by the players. “I think so personally, and I believe the whole team does too,” David Alaba said when asked by Sport 1 whether he wanted Flick to stay. “We feel very good. You can see his philosophy very well in our game.”
That is indeed the case, even against Leverkusen and Gladbach, Bayern were the better team. At the same time, Milot Rashica’s goal highlighted that Bayern still have weaknesses. Weaknesses that Freiburg want to explore on Wednesday night.
Freiburg vs Bayern Munich – Players to look out for:
Robin Koch #25 – SC Freiburg
Robin Koch has been one of the most exciting prospects in the Bundesliga. The 23-year-old defender was signed for just €4 million from 1.FC Kaiserslautern and has since more than doubled his transfer value. Strong performances and an ability to play a cultivated ball from the back have even led to a call-up by Bundestrainer Joachim Löw. On Wednesday, Koch will be a crucial player for Freiburg in their quest to upset the apple-cart against Bayern.
Philippe Coutinho #10 – Bayern Munich
Coutinho was sensational on Saturday. Three goals and two assists are hard facts. His second goal, however, defied reality and will easily win the goal of the year and could even be an early shout for the Puskas as well. But was the performance enough to keep Coutinho long-term in Munich? “It depends on many things,” Coutinho said to Bild am Sonntag. “What does Bayern want, what do we decide together? But now is not the time. We have to focus on our games.” Coutinho is right; he will need more performances like the one on Saturday for Bayern to trigger the €120 million exit clause or even start negotiations between Bayern and Barca to make a transfer happen for a lower price.
Freiburg vs Bayern Munich – Match Stats
- For the first time since May 2018 Philippe Coutinho has been involved in three goals in a league game (two goals, one assist) – he has scored three goals in Barcelona’s 4-5-loss in Levante.
- Robert Lewandowski leads the league with 18 goals in 15 games. Two more than RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.
- Freiburg’s last home win over Bayern Munich dates back to matchday 33 of the 2014/15 season (2-1).
- Freiburg’s record at home against Bayern Munich: W4 D5 L10.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Freiburg vs Bayern Munich – 1-3
Freiburg vs Bayern Munich – Lineups
Flekken – Gulde, Koch, Heintz – Schmid, Haberer, Höfler, Günter – Höler, Petersen, Grifo
Head Coach: Christian Streich
Neuer – Davies, Alaba, Javi Martínez, Pavard – Müller, Kimmich, Thiago – Coutinho, Lewandowski, Gnabry
Head Coach: Hansi Flick
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.