Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Freiburg - prediction, team news, lineups
:Headline: Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Freiburg - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between VfL Bochum and Freiburg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Freiburg's exceptional Bundesliga campaign will continue when they travel to face newcomers VFL Bochum on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors are in the midst of an unlikely battle for Champions League football, whilst Bochum will be looking for points to distance themselves from the drop.
Few teams have impressed as much as Freiburg in Europe, let alone Germany this season, with the Breisgau-Brasilianer currently third in the Bundesliga table.
Having enjoyed an unbeaten start to the campaign, Freiburg were eventually knocked off their stride by league leaders Bayern Munich in the final match before the international break.
Unable to bounce back with an immediate win, Freiburg once again fell victim to another defeat, this time courtesy of Eintracht Frankfurt.
The two results have somewhat staggered the progression of Christian Streich's side, who had previously not lost back-to-back league matches since the beginning of April.
As for the last time that Freiburg suffered three consecutive defeats, that came almost exactly a year ago, as the Baden-Wurttemberg based club attempted to fend off the threat of relegation.
There should be no such issue for Streich's men this season, instead they are targeting their first appearance in the group stage of European competition since 2012-13.
Under the tutelage of current boss Streich, Freiburg qualified for the Europa League on the back of a fifth-placed finish the season prior, but were unable to progress from a group containing eventual winners Sevilla.
For Bochum, it is 17 years since they last competed in Europe, but Die Unabsteigbaren will likely be content with surviving in the Bundesliga this season.
Promoted as 2. Bundesliga champions in the previous campaign, Bochum have endured a mix return to life in Germany's top flight, winning only four of their opening 12 matches.
Remarkably, three of those four victories have come in the comfort of their own home, including a 2-0 triumph over Hoffenheim in the last game at the Ruhrstadion before the recess.
Without a Bundesliga win against Freiburg since February 2005, the division's third-lowest lowest scorers will be looking to defy the history books when the pair meet on Saturday.
However, the good news for Bochum supporters is their side were victorious the last time that the two faced each other, triumphing 2-0 in a 2. Bundesliga fixture during the 2015-16 campaign.
VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:
VfL Bochum form (all competitions):
Freiburg Bundesliga form:
Freiburg form (all competitions):
Improving on their poor goals return will be crucial in a bid to survive, yet Bochum boss Thomas Reis turned to an alternative source last time Die Unabsteigbaren played at home.
Goalkeeper Manuel Riemann was chosen to take a penalty against Hoffenheim, but the 33-year-old missed – luckily for him he was able to keep his fourth clean sheet of the campaign, ensuring the three points stayed with Bochum.
Riemann will maintain his place between the sticks, whilst at the opposite end of the pitch, a more conventional goal scorer could be found in Milos Pantovic, who netted in their last victory.
Danny Blum is likely to be the biggest Bochum absentee, whilst Robert Tesche, Gerrit Holtmann and Simon Zoller will also sit the match out through injury.
Not without their own injury doubts, Freiburg will make the journey North without talismanic forward Nils Petersen, who has been absent since the middle of October.
Jonathan Schmid is the only other expected injury for an otherwise healthy Freiburg side, who will be chasing their first victory over Bochum since 2009.
VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Stafylidis, Masovic, Lambropoulos, Soares; Lowen, Losilla, Rexhbecaj; Asano, Polter, Antwi-Adjei
Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Flekken, Gulde, Lienhart, Schlotterbeck; Kubler, Eggestein, Hofler, Gunter; Jeong, Holer, Grifo
We say: VfL Bochum 2-0 Freiburg
Whilst the top four is an unlikely achievement for comparable minnows in German football Freiburg, they do boast pedigree in qualifying for the Europa League.
That will be the target for a high-flying Freiburg side, with Bochum's wait for a win against the team from the South likely to go on.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com
are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here
to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data
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