Freiburg will aim to keep their impressive Bundesliga season going when they host top-of-the-table FC Bayern München at Schwarzwald Stadion on Friday.
Date: 20 January 2017
Match Day 17
Kick-off: 21H30 (GMT 2)
Referee: Manuel Grafe
Assistants: G. Kleve, M. Sinn
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Freiburg 33 4 6 23
Bayern Munich 33 23 6 4
Freiburg 2-1 Bayern Munich 16/05/15 (Bundesliga)
Freiburg goalscorers: A. Mehmedi (33'), N. Petersen (89')
FC Bayern München goalscorers: B. Schweinsteiger (13')
Players to watch:
Freiburg may look to the likes of Nils Petersen to make an impact against Bayern. The forward has scored six times so far this season, at an average of a goal every 108 minutes. Mainz loanee Florian Niederlechner has also contributed six goals, while Vincenzo Grifo leads the assist tally with eight.
Bayern Munich have relied heavily on star striker Robert Lewandowski to bury the opposition with sheer weight of goals. The Pole has racked up a staggering 20 in only 24 appearances in all competitions, while 21-year-old Joshua Kimmich has added seven goals from central midfield.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 19, 2017
Team form and manager quotes:
Freiburg head into the tie on a four-game unbeaten run, having beaten Ingolstadt 2-1 in their most recent clash, following draws against Bayer Leverkusen and FC Schalke, and a win over Darmstadt.
The Brazilians of Breisgau know they have a tough task ahead of them against the defending champions, but Maximilian Philipp believes they can pull it off with a bit of luck.
"It's definitely a tough start to the new year. On the other hand, it is always great to play against Bayern and on top of that, it is a Friday night game under the lights. Obviously I think we will need that little bit of luck, just like we had in that game that we won. We can beat Bayern if we give our all and really apply ourselves, which we have shown that we can do this season," he told the official DFB website.
Meanwhile, Die Roten finished 2016 in style, racking up six consecutive victories to move up to first position in the Bundesliga standings. Among the wins was a 5-0 hammering of Wolfsburg, and most recently a convincing 3-0 result over second-placed RB Leipzig.
Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti has reiterated the importance of the second half of the season, and is determined to keep his players focused on their targets, starting with victory against Freiburg.
"It's extremely important we're prepared for every eventuality. Call it the most important phase in a season. You might be allowed to make mistakes in the first half of the season, but that is not the case in the second half," he told the press after his side returned from their training camp in Qatar.
Freiburg should have a virtually full-strength squad from which to pick their starters, but defensive midfielder Amir Abrashi looks set to miss out with an ankle injury suffered in training.
Die Roten remain without the services of centre-back Jerome Boateng, whose shoulder injury may keep him sidelined until the end of next month, while Thiago also misses out with his hamstring problem.