Preview: SC Freiburg – FC Bayern

On Sunday, FC Bayern will be playing in Breisgau. Traditionally, games in Freiburg are a difficult affair for the record champion. Very often these matches were decided in the final minutes. Author: Justin • Translator: Dennis

Nevertheless, there is no reason to panic for the Reds. Not only the lead in the league table is comfortable, but also the record against SC Freiburg speaks for itself. In May 2015 there was a 2-1 defeat in Freiburg, not so long ago, but it was the only one in the past 29 Bundesliga duels (23 wins, 5 draws).

Especially with Christian Streich as coach, however, the team from Baden always have something to show at home. Most recently, Bayern only decided the game with a late goal by Lewandowski. Before that there was the mentioned defeat, two draws and two narrow victories.

Freiburg will dictate a high intensity

Streich knows that he has to stop Munich’s rhythm of play. Freiburg actually wants the ball, the coach said, knowing that this will not happen all too often. But they want it and that makes them so dangerous.

In the last encounter, they knew how to condense the centre and disrupt the build-up play of the record champions as early as possible. They did not blindly run into ruin, but moved wisely between the defensive line and the visitors’ midfield with their first line of press.

Behind it, the SC operated especially in the center with some man orientations. Lewandowski’s dropping was largely defended by controlled advancements by the centre-backs and much aggressiveness.

Freiburg will once again demonstrate a high level of intensity. The biggest question is probably how fit the SC is currently. In 11 of the past 12 Bundesliga games, the Streich-XI earned points and only one of the 12 home games was lost.

But in Breisgau they were plagued by injuries, which are only now beginning to subside. Streich adapted his tactics accordingly and thus set a more pragmatic course. The otherwise also playfully very interesting SC left something to be desired with the ball.

At the press conference after the Hoffenheim match, Streich almost apologized for the destructive style of his team, but that’s all he could do at the moment. Nevertheless, the Freiburg team will also try to play football against FC Bayern, whenever possible. The pressing from the last home game against Munich can be expected to happen again.

This could be a possible staggering of the Freiburg press on Sunday.

In the depicted version, the formation against the ball always varies between 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2, and the two strikers usually start in staggered positions, sometimes at the same height – depending on how much pressure they want to exert and in which zones. The center behind it is usually closed with man orientations to force the opponent onto the outer lanes. In this case, either equal numbers or even outnumberings are created if quickly shifted. The Freiburg team is generally quite good at doing this and if they manage to implement it consistently, quickly and disciplined, it will be difficult for the Bavarian team.

Statistical comparison.

FC Bayern has to change gears – or do the not?

The Heynckes-XI can therefore expect an extremely high intensity. If they want to take three points with them, they need a different attitude than in the last games. The question will therefore be whether they want to.

Against Wolfsburg and Hertha one could see that the suspense in the league is simply lacking in the league. However, especially in the duel with Berlin, there were some good opportunities to score three points. Stats Zones shot monitor even shows seven shots in the penalty area from a relatively central to very central position.

Freiburg, however, will not only park the bus. They will defend actively, complicate the build-up game and aggressively attack the center.
The Reds can only counter this with a lot of movement. By moving the offensive players between the lines and other players moving into the vacated positions. By laying off vertical passes between the lines, from where the passes can then be played into the depths. Or also by simply shifting the side more often again, after they have narrowed the zone on the other side of the pitch

There were only four switches of play against Hertha. Two of them into the final third, one laterally in the build-up stage to the full-back and one that meant a loss of the ball in the first third. Too little to challenge a compact team.

All switches of play from Bayern in the match against Hertha BSC.
Graphics and stats via Stats Zone from the App Store.

But of course, it is not enough just to switch from side to side. In the first half against Berlin, Bayern showed how to play against such an opponent.

If you look at the passes that Müller and Thiago have received, you can see that they moved cleverly into the gaps to be open there. They either opened rooms behind them or had the opportunity to play the ball in the depths after a simple turn.

It is relatively simple, yet difficult to implement. Bayern lacked the presence in the dangerous zones in the spaces between the defenders. So there were only a few passes behind the opponent’s defensive chain. Often the ball had to be either played backwards or to the side. Nevertheless, these runs by Thiago and Müller were one of the few rays of hope.

Freiburg’s squad situation and the fact that many players can’t be at 100% yet must be exploited with a lot of movement and speed. Only then will the team from Breisgau also not be able to get their well organized moving over 90 minutes on the lawn without error.

But what does “must” mean here? Even with the loss of points last weekend, FC Bayern has not dropped its lead. There are still 19 points separating Dortmund’s runner-up from the defending champion. The FCB doesn’t have to do anything.

But it would certainly be nice if the Reds could continue to show in the Bundesliga that they are ready for more. Keeping up the rhythm is always a popular phrase to express that the ominous switch before Champions League matches is not so easy to flip.

Who knows? Maybe Thiago will bring not only provide the switches of play, but also a little more creativity into the game of the Bayern.
(Image: Lennart Preiss / Bongarts / Getty Images)

Especially against Besiktas this was also shown in the first minutes before the red card. Bayern were lazy, hectic and didn’t understand it well to play a compact opponent with patience and speed tired.

Heynckes was not satisfied with the last performances. But that alone is not enough. It would be desirable for Bayern to show a sovereign Bundesliga performance for some time now, especially in Breisgau. In order to prevent the Freiburgers from playing another trick, they should therefore show a different intensity and playfulness.

And if all this is not there, Robert Lewandowski can stil be counted on with 13 goals in 12 games against SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga. He scores every 74 minutes in these duels. So if he plays from the beginning, at least statistically after 74 minutes there will be a Bayern goal.

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