Unbeaten Freiburg hunt first-ever win at Bayern Munich
Freiburg face the acid test of their unbeaten record in the Bundesliga on Saturday at league leaders Bayern Munich, where they have never won in Germany’s top flight.
Third-placed Freiburg, from Germany’s picturesque Black Forest, are the only Bundesliga club still boasting an undefeated run after eleven rounds.
“We go into every game with the feeling that we can win – even in Munich, we won’t be thinking ‘the main thing is not to concede many goals'”, Freiburg defender Lukas Kuebler told Kicker.
A win at Munich’s Allianz Arena would put them level on 25 points with Bayern, yet Freiburg head coach Christian Streich is relaxed ahead of his 300th game on the bench in Germany’s top flight.
“It’s basically pleasant,” said Streich, who took charge of Freiburg in 2011, making him the longest serving current Bundesliga coach.
“The team is very balanced and very hungry, it’s great that we travel to Munich in such a relaxed frame of mind.”
Streich is one of the Bundesliga’s characters, just as likely to discusses politics or current affairs with his players as tactics and fitness.
Freiburg have taken 13 points from the past five league games and conceded a Bundesliga-wide low of just seven goals all season.
Bayern have scored a league-record 38 goals in their opening 10 games, 12 of which were scored by star striker Robert Lewandowski.
The Poland star marked his 100th Champions League appearance Tuesday with a hat-trick in the 5-2 drubbing of Benfica.
Freiburg’s all-time record scorer Nils Petersen, who hit 96 goals in 219 games, is sidelined by a knee injury.
The current team has no stand out star, but striker Lucas Hoeller, midfielders Vincenzo Grifo and South Korean international Jeong Woo-Yeong are joint top-scorers with three league goals each.
A top four finish would mean a first Champions League appearance next season in the club’s history, “but if we start dreaming now – I think that will simply backfire,” Kuebler added.
“Our mindset is modest, but it’s good because it helps us keep us grounded.”
One to watch: Jude Bellingham
The 18-year-old has been called up for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino on the back of mature performances for Borussia Dortmund, who trail Bayern by a point in the league.
Bellingham is expected to again boss the central midfield at RB Leipzig on Saturday, where Dortmund have won on their three previous visits.
Star striker Erling Braut Haaland remains sidelined by a hip injury, but Dortmund are buoyed by winning their last four league games as they look to bounce back from a midweek Champions League defeat at home to Ajax.
21 – matches for Freiburg at Bayern Munich, where the visitors have never won, including 18 defeats and three draws.
101 – Bundesliga goals Marco Reus has scored for Borussia Dortmund, needing one more to claim fourth spot in the club’s list of all-time scorers. Current sports director Michael Zorc is second with 131.
3 – consecutive home defeats for RB Leipzig against Dortmund, who they have beaten just once at the Red Bull Arena. Leipzig’s sole home win over Dortmund was in September 2016, when the Saxony club hosted their first ever Bundesliga match having climbed up from the fifth tier.
Fixtures (all times 1430GMT unless stated)
Mainz 05 v Bor. Moenchengladbach (1930)
Bayern Munich v Freiburg, VfL Wolfsburg v Augsburg, VfB Stuttgart v Arminia Bielefeld, VfL Bochum v Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund (1730)
Hertha Berlin v Bayer Leverkusen, Cologne v Union Berlin (1630), Greuther Fuerth v Eintracht Frankfurt (1830)