Freiburg v Bochum
Christian Streich and his Freiburg side welcome Bochum to the Europa-Park Stadion for Friday night’s Bundesliga game. It’s well known that Freiburg are tough to beat at home and last season was no exception, losing just four of their 17 home games as they went on to qualify for this season’s Europa League, just three points off a top four spot. Bochum on the other hand secured their Bundesliga status in April last season, beating both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. However, with the departures of Maxim Leitsch, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Milos Pantovic and Sebastian Polter, they’ve struggled this season.
Bottom of the Bundesliga and without a single point after three games, Bochum have scored three and conceded 12, seven of those against Bayern Munich last weekend. Operating in a 4-2-3-1 with Ivan Ordets partnering Dominique Heintz in central-defence, Freiburg’s creative trio of Roland Sallai, Ritsu Doan and Vincenzo Grifo should have a field day behind summer arrival Michael Gregoritsch, who has scored two goals from an xG of 0.9 in his first three Bundesliga games for SCF. The Austrian is clinical in the area, but also drops deeper, operating as an attacking-midfielder and brings others into play – a different profile of forward in comparison to last season’s Nils Petersen and Lucas Holer, who operate as your typical No. 9s.
Freiburg, one of the Bundesliga’s best run clubs, have again impressed in their recruitment with one of the league’s smallest budgets. Despite losing central-defender Nico Schlotterbeck, former defender and Germany international Matthias Ginter has returned to the club, bringing his vital experience to the squad. Both of Freiburg’s wins this season have resulted in clean sheets, Ginter partnering Philipp Lienhart in wins against Augsburg and Stuttgart. Although a defeat against Borussia Dortmund in their only home game this season, Freiburg impressed, and controlled the game until the 77th minute.
Bochum don’t travel particularly well, conceding at least three goals in their last four away games and with the departure of Polter to Schalke, don’t provide a particular goal threat but Freiburg right-back Kiliann Sildillia will have to be wary of Bochum’s Simon Zoller, who scored two against Hoffenheim in a game that Bochum still lost.
It’s difficult to see how Thomas Reis’ Bochum can get anything out of this game. Streich’s Freiburg are extremely well organised in defence but fluid in attack. If Freiburg can score early, then this could easily go on to be a two or three-nil win. But this is a game where Gregoritsch, Doan & Co. can really flourish putting Freiburg joint top of the Bundesliga before the Saturday fixtures.
Bayern Munich v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Three games into the Bundesliga season and Bayern Munich already look unstoppable. The departure of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona isn’t proving to be a problem. In fact, it’s made Julian Nagelsmann’s side even more ruthless going forward. After three games, Bayern Munich have nine points and a +14 goal difference (15 scored, 1 conceded) and are enjoying the best start of any team in Bundesliga history.
From just an xG of 3.6, Bayern Munich put seven goals past Bochum last weekend. Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane started in place of Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry, both getting on the scoresheet. Matthijs de Ligt scored on his Bundesliga debut and Sadio Mane scored a brace before Christian Gamboa scored an own goal, Gnabry scoring Bayern’s seventh of the evening and his second of the season in just 134 minutes.
Lewandowski is almost a forgotten memory. He scored 35 of Bayern’s 97 goals (36%) last season but already we’re seeing others step up to the plate. Nagelsmann’s switch from a 4-2-3-1 with a No. 9 to an attacking 4-2-2-2 with Thomas Muller and Musiala behind Mane and Gnabry is mesmerising to watch. The four constantly interchange positions, causing the opposing defence numerous problems and although one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga this season, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Ko Itakura will be in for a busy afternoon.
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Mönchengladbach is always an interesting fixture to watch. Die Fohlen took four points off Bayern last season and in the last five competitive meetings, four have finished with over 2.5 goals.
However, whilst Bayern perhaps had an overreliance on Lewandowski last season, this season is the opposite. No longer are Gnabry, Coman & Co. looking to find their former No. 9, but instead are creating opportunities and finishing them themselves. Nagelsmann is also expected to welcome back Musiala on Saturday after he and Alphonso Davies returned to team training on Wednesday after missing the Bochum game. In particular, Musiala is one to watch this season. The 19-year-old created seven chances for teammates in the opening two games.
Surprisingly, Daniel Farke’s Borussia Mönchengladbach remain unbeaten and are second after seven points from nine this season, but they’re yet to play a top eight team. Their trip to the Allianz Arena on Saturday will be their first real test of the season and whilst Marcus Thuram & Co. can cause problems, Bayern are far superior. With the creativity and threat in the final third, Bayern will dominate possession, creating several chances and will maintain their 100% record in their Bundesliga campaign.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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