Manuel Veth –
Freiburg vs Dortmund – Sunday, April 21, 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Schwarzwald-Stadion, Freiburg, Germany
Freiburg are still feeling the after-effects from their 5-0 defeat to 1.FSV Mainz. “That result is still in our heads,” sport director Klemens Hartenbach explained this week.
At the same time, Freiburg do not want to speak about a trend after losing two games in a row. “Before the two defeats, we managed a point against Bayern München. Our performances don’t worry me,” Hartenbach added.
The Breisgau Brazilians head into matchday 30 with 32 points and currently have an 11 point gap to 16th spot VfB Stuttgart. Mathematically, 32 points are not enough when it comes to safety, but given that the teams in the basement have struggled this season Freiburg know that another three points could be enough to stay in the league.
“We want to earn our classification to the league with victories and not benefit from other teams losing,” Hartenbach concluded. Not an easy task given that the next two opponents are Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.
Dortmund, however, have shown some nerves in the championship race. First, they lost 5-0 to Bayern München and then clawed their way to a 2-1 victory over Mainz last weekend.
The biggest worry for Dortmund has been the club’s defence. “We have to be better and smarter. It has been to easy to score against us,” the head of the licence player department Sebastian Kehl said to the media this week.
Set pieces, in particular, have been a problem for Dortmund. The Black and Yellows have conceded 15 of their 36 goals against from set pieces, in other words, 42%. “We defend the same way as 99% of all other teams in Europe,” Lucien Favre said when he was asked whether man-to-man marking could help when it comes to standard situations. “Man against man? That is crazy; nobody does that.”
“We have to anticipate better,” Favre comes up with a simple solution. Anticipation, however, comes with experience, something that Dortmund’s defence is lacking at the moment. Furthermore, Favre has been forced to move around players in his backline as Dortmund’s defence, at times, was devastated by injuries.
Hence, the defence might not be Dortmund’s solution in the title race, as the match against Mainz highlighted. The answer perhaps is simple, Dortmund must play the football that got them to the top in the first place, which is to rely on the attacking prowess of the team and create the freedom that comes with confidence.
Freiburg vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Vincenzo Grifo #32 – SC Freiburg
Vincenzo Grifo has regained his mojo since joining Freiburg from Hoffenheim on loan. In eight games for Freiburg, he has scored three goals and four assists this season. Furthermore, he was also called up to represent the country of his parents, Italy, during the international break. Grifo may not have played in Italy’s two victories over Finnland and Liechtenstein, but he is undoubtedly in Roberto Mancini’s plans going forward. Future plans also include a return to Hoffenheim, who believe that a loan deal to Freiburg will have done wonders for the winger, even if Grifo seems to perform best when coached by Christian Streich.
Julian Weigl #33 – Borussia Dortmund
Julian Weigl has been one of the benefactors of Dortmund’s defensive problems. The elegant playmaker has struggled to find his space in Lucien Favre’s midfield. The Swiss head coach prefers Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel in the double-pivot role. Instead, Weigl has been helping out in the backline where he plays almost like a libero. The role has both its positives and negatives. Weigl is like a playmaker that can distribute the ball from the back, at the same time he is not a classical full-back and struggles whenever the opponent plays high balls in the box, which also explains Dortmund’s problems at set pieces.
Freiburg vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- Borussia Dortmund have not lost the last 15 games against Freiburg, only against Nürnberg 16 games without defeat do Dortmund have a longer undefeated streak.
- In five home games under Christian Streich Freiburg have failed to score against Borussia Dortmund.
- Freiburg’s record against Borussia Dortmund: W2 D7 L9
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Freiburg vs Dortmund – 1-2
Freiburg vs Dortmund – Lineups
Schwolow – Stenzel, Schlotterbeck, Heintz, Günter – Abrashi, Höfler – Frantz, Grifo – Haberer, Höler
Head Coach: Christian Streich
Bürki – Wolf, Weigl, Akanji, Diallo – Witsel, Delaney – Sancho, Reus, Guerreiro – Götze
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga 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. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.