Freiburg - SC Freiburg welcome local rivals VfB Stuttgart to the MAGE SOLAR Stadium for the 27th Baden-Württemberg derby of the Bundesliga era on Sunday (kick-off 15:30).
"We always look forward to the derby, but we need to put in a really good display to get a draw or even a win if everything goes really well," said Freiburg head coach Christian Streich. A similar performance to last weekend’s away success at Hannover 96 would certainly suffice, but as Streich pointed out: "That was a special performance."
Special indeed. Freiburg sit tenth in the table following their first-ever win in Hannover, with Streich's disciplined approach combined with a refreshing will to attack ensuring the south-west club have tasted defeat just once in their last six outings - against champions Borussia Dortmund at that.
"As ever, we'll have to give our best and stick to the coach's plan of action in order to give the best possible account of ourselves against Stuttgart," said Freiburg defender Pavel Krmas. "We want to give everything because of course we want to win the derby." The clash kick-starts a busy week for the hosts, who face league leaders FC Bayern Munich just three days later.
13th-placed Stuttgart hold the bragging rights for most derby wins between the two (19) and make the short trip south off the back of a thumping 5-1 UEFA Europa League win away at Steaua Bucuresti. "It will be a close and interesting game, but it's a great situation to be in and should be fun - like in Bucharest," said Stuttgart head coach Bruno Labbadia.
Fun or not, sporting director Fredi Bobic warned of a tough game against a Freiburg team "that can play exceptional football" as well as "a difficult week ahead", with Stuttgart also in action 72 hours later against struggling FC Augsburg and cellar-dwelling Greuther Fürth next weekend.
With such a hectic schedule on the horizon, it’s likely to be a trying period for both sets of players. Although Freiburg hold a slight advantage in terms of man power, given Stuttgart's exertions in Romania on Thursday night.
Labbadia can welcome back defender Georg Niedermeier following a bout of the flu, but Serdar Tasci is doubtful with a muscle complaint. Freiburg counterpart Streich, meanwhile, will have to do without Marco Terrazzino (abductor) and long-term absentees Immanuel Höhn and Matthias Ginter.
SC Freiburg: Mujdza, Krmas, Diagne, Sorg - Makiadi, Schuster - Schmid, D. Caligiuri - Rosenthal, M. Kruse
VfB Stuttgart: G. Sakai, Tasci, Maza, Molinaro - Kvist - Gentner, Kuzmanovic - Harnik, Traoré - Ibisevic