Coming off the back of last weekend’s 3-1 triumph over Schalke at the Red Bull Arena, RB Leipzig will be making a 650 kilometre trip to the other side of the country to face Christian Streich’s Freiburg. In recent fixtures between the two, Freiburg have become Leipzig’s whipping boys, having conceded 4 goals in each of the 3 meetings between the pair. In the return fixture earlier in the season, the then hosts came away with a comfortable victory, in a game where Timo Werner scored twice, Orban once, and a goal of the season contender from Bruma, who had only been introduced to the game moments prior.
Without a win in five Bundesliga fixtures beforehand, Leipzig were able to start the new year on a good note, beating Schalke by three goals to two to end a five game winless streak which saw them leapfrog their opponents into second place. Leipzig were able to ride their luck in this game, with one goal coming off a large deflection, whilst the other two were the result of Schalke being careless in possession, handing the ball to Leipzig.
On the other hand, although Freiburg were unable to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt of matchday 18, a draw against Die Adler allowed them to extend their unbeaten run to six games, the clubs longest without defeat in almost six years. Despite sitting in the lower half of the table, Freiburg’s home form has been very good and an important reason as to why they’re sitting five points above the relegation zone, having only lost once (Schalke in November) on their home turf all campaign, conceding six goals in that period.
In recent times this has been a fixture that has guaranteed, but due to current form, this season’s encounter may consist of a different narrative.
Date: Saturday 20th January 2018.
Kick-off: 15:30 (CET).
Venue: Schwarzwald-Stadion (Capacity: 24,000).
Broadcasting: Fox Sports 2 (USA), Sky Sports Bundesliga 5 (Germany), beIN Sports 4 (Saudi Arabia).
RB Leipzig 1-1 Freiburg | Freiburg 2-1 RB Leipzig | Freiburg 1-4 RB Leipzig | RB Leipzig 4-0 Freiburg | RB Leipzig 4-1 Freiburg.
Freiburg: W | D | W | D | D.
RB Leipzig: L | D | D | L | W.
Marcel Halstenberg (Rested) | Emil Forsberg (Strained Abdominal Muscle) | Naby Keïta (Suspension).
Florian Niederlechner (Fractured Kneecap) | Philipp Lienhart (Ruptured Knee Ligament) | Yoric Ravet (Achilles Irritation) | Mike Frantz (Intraarticular ligament Crack Knee).
This season Freiburg have been known for their defensive discipline at home, possessing the third best home record in the league, with all but one clean-sheet coming from a home fixture. An important cog to their success is Turkish centre-back: Çağlar Söyüncü. The 21-year-old’s composure on the ball and passing ability will be an important component in initiating attacks, as he’ll look to evade Leipzig’s pressure and shift the ball onto the next phase. Söyüncü is someone who can anticipate a play well and recover possession for his side, but he susceptible to making a mistakes, and his discipline record could hinder his performances, as he currently sits on four yellow cards this season, one away from a suspension. Leipzig will most likely have the large share of possession, so the Turkish international will need to remain calm and on his toes to maintain Freiburg’s defensive record against Die Roten Bullen.
Gulácsi; Laimer, Orban, Upamecano, Bernardo; Demme, Kampl, Sabitzer; Augustin, Poulsen, Werner.
Schwolow; Koch, Söyüncü, Gulde; Kübler, Abrashi, Haberer, Kapustka, Günter; Petersen, Höler.
Freiburg 0-1 RB Leipzig