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Back a Borussia Dortmund victory when they take on Freiburg in the Bundesliga’s Friday fixture. BVB got off to a winning start last weekend and can build on that with another triumph.
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Bayern Munich hogged the headlines after matchday one of the Bundesliga season thanks to their 6-1 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt. Borussia Dortmund could not match the champions in terms of result, but there was plenty for them to be pleased about as Edin Terzic’s side ran out 1-0 winners against Bayer Leverkusen. It was not the sort of sparkling attacking display that Dortmund delivered on several occasions in the 2021/22 campaign – but that is exactly why it was so welcome.
Over the last few seasons, BVB’s title tilts have usually come unstuck because they concede too many goals and do not have Bayern’s capacity to grind out wins when necessary. Dortmund have frequently played some sensational soccer, even against the very best teams in Germany, but they have then proceeded to throw points away in meetings with teams they expected to beat.
So while their display against Leverkusen was nothing to write home about, Terzic will have been delighted with the fact that his team found a way to get the job done when they were not at their best. If Dortmund are to stand any sort of chance of challenging Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title, they will need to win plenty of matches when they are below par. The expectation, though, is that BVB will finish second. Closing the gap to Bayern is near-impossible given that club’s substantial financial advantage.
The victory over Leverkusen contained bad news as well as good. Already missing Sebastien Haller as he undergoes treatment for a testicular tumor, Dortmund have now lost Karim Adeyemi and Nico Schlotterbeck to injuries they picked up in the opening game. With Niklas Sule already sidelined, BVB are below full strength already – although there is an outside chance that Adeyemi will be fit enough to feature on Friday.
There are not many clubs in Europe’s top five leagues – La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Premier League – that have punched above their weight over a sustained period of time to a greater extent than Freiburg. Despite having one of the lowest budgets in the German top flight, the Breisgau-Brasilianer finished sixth last season and were not far off qualifying for the Champions League. Even making the Europa League is a tremendous accomplishment for Freiburg.
Christian Streich remains in charge at the Europa-Park Stadion, the club’s new stadium which opened last year. In truth the long-serving manager has become synonymous with Freiburg, so much so that it is difficult to imagine them without him in the dugout.
Streich has been at the helm of the club since 2011 and has done a magnificent job over the last 11 years. Tenures of that length tend to go stale in the end, but Streich continues to evolve and find ways to keep things fresh.
There is genuine belief among Freiburg fans that the team could challenge for the top four this season. They have strengthened the squad over the summer, bringing in Matthias Ginter (a replacement for Schlotterbeck), Ritsu Doan and Michael Gregoritsch. Freiburg have also kept most of last season’s team intact, and their 4-0 thrashing of Augsburg on matchday one only increased the sense of optimism and excitement around the club.
In relation to other Bundesliga sides, Freiburg had a better away record than home record in 2021/22: Streich’s charges finished fourth in the away table and eighth in the home one. They actually conceded fewer goals on the road, perhaps because they adopted a more proactive approach in front of their own fans and were then caught out defensively by visiting teams.
That is one reason why Dortmund will be reasonably confident going into the weekend. Another is that, man for man, theirs is a superior team. That does not guarantee victory, as the history of soccer shows. But BVB showed a steelier side to their game last weekend, and the hope is that Terzic will make them better equipped to grind out wins in that manner.
This is unlikely to be a high-scoring game. Freiburg will certainly not just sit back and hope for the best, but nor will they attack with reckless abandon. Streich would probably settle for 0-0 at half-time, and his opposite number Terzic will also appreciate the value of keeping things tight early on.
Under 2.5 goals is a wager we considered, but betting the moneyline is our recommendation here. Back Borussia Dortmund to beat Freiburg in the first fixture of the Bundesliga weekend.
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|Teams||Freiburg vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Location||Europa-Park Stadion, Freiburg, Germany|
|Time||Friday, 12 August 2022, 2.30 PM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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