VfL Wolfsburg vs. SC Freiburg preview: A top-half clash
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
Freiburg travel north to face a Wolfsburg side who ended 2022 in a superb form, as both clubs look to secure a place in Europe during the second half of the season.
|Vincenzo Grifo.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Roger Petzsche|
After nearly losing his job during a horrific start to the campaign, Niko Kovac turned things around in the nick of time. But, what type of Wolfsburg (now with four straight league wins) will we see on the pitch after two months away?
The company club are unbeaten in their last nine competitions which has miraculously put them back up into 7th place and on the verge of European qualification.
Sebastiaan Bornauw and Micky van de Ven have been irreplaceable in center defense and Kovac has a plethora of midfield options to select for his preferred 4-5-1 formation.
The trainer shared that, “It will be a real challenge for us tomorrow – the second in the table is coming to us. It will be an indicator for us as to whether we are at eye level or not and a battle of attrition that we can hopefully win.”
Lukas Nmecha will likely be the only absentee for Wolfsburg, while veteran Jerome Roussillon has switched to Union Berlin.
2nd-place Freiburg are exceeding expectations yet again by leaps and bounds. In his 11th year at the helm, Christian Streich has the Breisgau club dreaming of the Champions League for a second consecutive season.
Defenses are struggling to contain both Vincenzo Grifo (9 goals) and Ritsu Doan flying in from the wings and Freiburg just put together an impressive offensive performance with a 6-2 win over Hamburg coming into this match.
Matthias Ginter has been rock solid at the back, while the never-injured Christian Günter continues to help out on both ends of the pitch. This has given Freiburg the second best defensive tally in the league with just 17 goals allowed through 15 games.
In usual Streich fashion, he commented, "The mood is good. But it would also be good if we were fifth. We're not euphoric. We're doing our work and weren't too worried now - that was nice. I didn't dream of negative scenarios."
Kevin Schade is off to Brentford for the rest of the season on a loan deal which includes a massive obligation to purchase clause. Hugo Siquet has also moved to Belgian side Cercle Brugge and Keven Schlotterbeck has joined Bochum until the summer.
Roland Sallai and Jonathan Schmid are unlikely to play.
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More about the teams
Final 15.30 Kickoffs: Schalke relegated, Stuttgart headed for playoffs, Wolfsburg miss out on Europe