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In-depth analysis on Freiburg: What traps should Allegri’s squad be worried about?

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On Thursday, 9th March, Juventus will face Freiburg at the Allianz Stadium in the round of 16 of the Europa League.

The competition is one of the main objectives of Massimiliano Allegri’s team this season, especially since after the -15 penalty in Serie A, this is Juventus’ main chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season. But after all, who is Freiburg and what can we expect for the two games against Juventus?

Who’s Freiburg?

Freiburg is a team from Germany, which despite not having Bundesliga titles in its history, is considered a traditional team in the four-time WC winner country.

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Freiburg came from the second division in 2016, gaining access with the 2. Bundesliga title. Since then, the team has achieved rankings above the top 10 in 4 out of 6 seasons in the Bundesliga and has surprised much of the German media with the great results achieved.

In the current season, Freiburg is obtaining, so far, its best position in its history in the Bundesliga, in addition to not losing at home since August 12 . Occupying the 5th place and collecting great games also in the Europe League, the team is living one of the great seasons in their history.

An important curiosity of Freiburg is that the coach of the team, Christian Streich, has been coaching the team for about 12 years and has the longest work of a manager in the 5 big European leagues, in addition to being widely considered the greatest coach in the history of the German team.

How does Freiburg play?

Game style

Well, to understand Freiburg’s style we must understand Christian Streich’s main characteristic: adaptability. Throughout his 12 years at Freiburg, Streich has the clear idea of ​​​​adapting according to the players and the opponent, being very elastic when it comes to the team’s formations and playing style. As we can see in the article below that shows how Freiburg adapted to the match against Leverkusen:

With the ball

However, adaptability is not the only characteristic of this Freiburg team… With the ball, Streich’s team seeks to play vertically, using a lot of quick passes or long balls that look for the wings of the field and the depth in the back of the opponent’s defense, this is because players like Doan, Gregoristsch and especially the Italian Griffo, the team’s main player, attack very well in 1vs1 situations.

In addition, another factor that makes the vertical style even more suitable for the team is that the team’s starting center-backs, Lienhart and Ginter, have a lot of quality with the ball at their feet, which makes Freiburg even more lethal in long balls and speed passes, in the game against Bayern Leverkusen for example, Lienhart and Ginter had 11 and 7 long ball attempts respectively.

To get an idea even more accurate of ​​how the team behaves with the ball, Freiburg has 48% of ball possession per game in the current Bundesliga, a number considered the third lowest among the top 10 in the competition, which exemplifies how Streich has never really been one for possession.

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https://totalfootballanalysis.com/article/freiburg-2022-23-their-tactics-this-season-scout-report-tactical-analysis-tactics

Positioning of the forwards

Another important characteristic of this team is that the attackers play close each other, it means that if Freiburg are unable to get on the end of a longer pass, they have more than two or three players in a good position to press right away, especially in the central corridors and to win it back. The midfield (Höfler and Eggestein) also try to be close to their forward men, allowing Freiburg several players around the ball when the team is attacking or pressing post-loss.

One final benefit to the forwards’ low amplitude is that a wingback who goes on the attack to seek a cross has more than one option, always having 2 or three players inside the opponent’s box. With Freiburg completing more than fifteen crosses per game, it is important to get the most out of this type of play and populating the area really is a very interesting strategy.

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Christian Streich – SC Freiburg – Tactical Analysis (2020-21 Edition)

Best player of the team

Another important statistic of the team is that 34% of the team’s goals in the Bundesliga in the current season were scored by Vicenzo Griffo. The Italian midfielder is without a doubt the most important and dangerous player in the Freiburg team…

With great versatility, Griffo has already played in several positions during the season (winger, central striker, central midfielder, left midfielder and wingerback) and has a reliable defensive work . However, his main characteristic is his excellent handling of the ball and his technical quality, which has earned him 16 participations in goals in the current season. Below is his heatmap in the current Bundesliga season and a map that shows the player’s main areas of action and which paths lead Griffo to be such an important player for Freiburg:

Without the ball

Without the ball, the Freiburg team usually seeks to carry out post-loss pressure in strategic areas. However, this is only for the team to return so that they hold their shape and manage to organize themselves defensively, making it difficult for the opponent to break into Freiburg’s compact lines.

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One important characteristic of the Freiburg team’s pressure is that the opposing defenders try to make long shots for the attack, because the team generates an advantage in these situations thanks to their great aerial presence. One final defensive characteristic of the team is try to block the central corridors, because the compactness that Streich asks the team is precisely to prevent the plays from circulating through the middle, which forces the opponents to play on the wings.

Formations

As we have seen, the main characteristic of Freiburg de Streich is adaptability, so Freiburg over the course of 11 years has varied formations a lot and this season was no different. Despite having played the last few games in a 4-4-2 that can vary to a 3-5-2, depending on Griffo’s position, the team has also played in 4-2-3-1, 3-4- 2-1 and 5-3-2.

At the moment without the ball, Freiburg’s main idea is to play in a formation that maintains the team’s defensive solidity but also numerically outmatch or match the opposing defenders. Precisely based on this idea, the formation without the ball that Streich has been using the most this season is a 5-2-3, using strategic pressing triggers. The change from a 4-4-2 to a 5-2-3 usually happens with Höffler dropping into the center-backs or one of the wingers comes back to close the defensive line while the other goes up to press and form the offensive trident without the ball.

Precisely based on the idea of ​​match or outmatch the opponent when you are under pressure, I believe that against Juventus we will see a Freiburg in 4-2-3-1 or in 3-5-2, since both systems are the most suitable to fit the pressure in the midfield of Allegri’s team. That’s because without a doubt Streich will try at all times not to make room in the central corridor for players with the quality of Locatelli, Pogba and Di Maria, so I see Freiburg opting for schemes that facilitate this pressure fit.

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Weaknesses

.  Excessive reliance on Grifo to score the team’s goals

. Difficulties building on slower transitions

. Excess of goals scored inside the area, the team does not have much quality in long-distance kicks

. Only 25% success rate crossing

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. 65% success in passes in the opponent’s field, a number that shows the difficulty of the team to build by exchanging passes and not vertically

Strengths

. Very fast and high quality counterattacks

. Team with a lot of physical aptitude and very organized defensively

. Wingers are very fast and have a lot of quality, especially Griffo

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. Ability to adapt to the opponent and the situation that the game asks

. Wide range of plays on set-pieces, both offensively and defensively

. Good mental strength thanks to the time of several players and the coach at the club

Conclusion thoughts

Freiburg will not be an easy opponent, in addition to being an extremely defensively organized and adaptable team, many of their players are at the club for quite a good time, which makes them very well adapted to Streich’s ideas for the team.

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Juventus must play a game that prioritizes defensive attention on the flanks, breaking the first line of pressure with the center-backs and good management of possession in the middle and forward, patiently seeking to break the defensive lines, especially using the talented of players like Pogba and Di Maria (which will definitely not be easy).

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