2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. Next we run the rule over Freiburg.
The story so far
Christian Streich’s 12th full season in charge of the Breisgauer sees the club roughly where they would expect to be- amongst the clubs competing for the European places behind the top four. Streich himself will be once again insisting that avoiding relegation is the goal, bit on the evidence of the Hinrunde, the Black Forest club once more will have nothing to worry about in that respect.
Freiburg have beaten the teams they would be expected to beat and five of their six defeats have come against the teams occupying the top five spots in the table, so no disgrace there. They began the season with back-to-back wins over Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen, before being shocked by a rampant VfB Stuttgart 5-0. Two late goals from Dortmund on matchday 4 denied them a share of the spoils at the Europa Park with the Schwarzgelben winning 4-2.
A pattern of winning one, losing one and drawing one was the way the rest of the Hinrunde went with the defeats coming against Bayern Munich (3-0), Bayer Leverkusen (2-1) and RB Leipzig (3-1). Elimination from the DFB Pokal at the hands of second-tier Paderborn at home wasn’t ideal, but Freiburg have already progressed to the next stage of the Europa League.
They did enjoy a run of three consecutive victories without conceding a goal (Mainz, Wolfsburg and Köln), but finished the year on a low with a loss to Heidenheim with a Matthias Ginter own goal in the 92nd minute handing all three points to the promoted side.
Noah Atubolu has settled in well as the first-choice keeper following the departure of Mark Flekken to the Premier League, and has kept six clean sheets. Lukas Höler is the top-scorer with five goals with Vincenzo Grifo as usual the provider with five assists. Freiburg went into last year’s Winterpause in second place so there has been some drop-off, but they would be as high as sixth with a better goal difference.
Tale of the tape
Record: 7-3-6, 24 points (1.50 per game), 8th in Bundesliga
Home Record: 14 points (4-2-1) Away Record: 10 points (3-1-5)
Goals: 21 (1.31 per game), Goals Against: 26 (1.63 per game), Diff: -5
xG: 24.3, xGA: 24.2
There haven’t been so many clear high’s but the three-match winning streak in December with three clean sheets can be seen as the highlight of the Hinrunde.
The matchday 3 thrashing received at the hands of VfB Stuttgart was the worst individual result. 3-0 down inside the first 20 minutes, they had no answer to the Swabians and left well beaten. The Pokal exit was a disappointment as was the fact that they were unable to secure any points against the top five.
Veteran defender (he’s still only 29!) Matthias Ginter has continued to marshall the Freiburg defence with great skill and effectiveness. He only missed one match, although he did end the Hinrunde on a sligh low scoring the injury time own goal that handed victory to FC Heidenheim on matchday 16.
Freiburg are there or thereabouts amongst the teams chasing a top six finish and European qualification. They have come up short against the leading teams so far this season, but there can’t be too much criticism thrown their way for their Hinrunde showing. An improvement is the number of goals scored and picking up points from the teams above them would stand them in good stead.