Freiburg have had plenty to celebrate in their new Europa-Park Stadion home so far this season. - © /
Freiburg have had plenty to celebrate in their new Europa-Park Stadion home so far this season. - © /
bundesliga

Freiburg: the 2021/22 season so far

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Freiburg are sitting pretty in third at the turn of the year on the back of their best start to a Bundesliga season, but how exactly did they climb to such a lofty perch?

With head coach Christian Streich celebrating a decade of service, bundesliga.com looks at what the charismatic coach has been getting so right this season…

The story so far

Freiburg's was the last remaining unbeaten record in the Bundesliga when they finally came unstuck on Matchday 11 at Bayern Munich. Six wins and four draws had thrust Streich's men into the top three, but that narrow defeat at the Allianz Arena was followed by two more. Bubble burst? Not exactly, as Freiburg bounced back with a 6-0 demolition of Borussia Mönchengladbach, with all six goals coming inside an historic opening 37 minutes. While they lost again at local rivals Hoffenheim, a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen has taken Freiburg to their highest ever position of third at the midway stage of the season.

Christian Streich has taken a Freiburg side boasting Wooyeong Jeong to new heights in 2021/22. - Pressefoto Rudel/Robin Rudel via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Sportfoto Rudel

Key player

Together with Bayern, Freiburg boast the meanest defence in the Bundesliga, with just 16 goals conceded. The return of Nico Schlotterbeck from a formative loan spell at Union Berlin partly explains their stingy ways: he's among the league's top six for aerial challenges won. The Germany international has scored a couple of goals, too.

Nico Schlotterbeck (c.) has been a towering influence for Freiburg at both ends of the field. - Peter Hartenfelser via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Hartenfelser

Best game so far

After losing three on the spin, nobody could have predicted Freiburg's reaction at Gladbach on Matchday 14. Maximilian Eggestein put them ahead after just two minutes with Kevin Schade joining him with his first Bundesliga goal of the season moments later. With just 37 minutes on the clock, Schlotterbeck headed in a sixth, making it game, set and match before the half-time whistle sounded.

Watch: Gladbach 0-6 Freiburg - highlights

One to watch

Schade's goal in that win over Gladbach was his first since joining the professional ranks in the summer, and the 20-year-old has really grown into this, his first season in the Bundesliga. He got a second against Leverkusen and the Germany U21 international – with three goals in four U21 caps – is set to be an even more important member of the Freiburg attack as they bid to sustain a push for a top-four finish in 2022.

The view from inside the camp

"I really enjoy being able to coach such a team and that so many people watch us – that's quite extraordinary. I'm allowed to work in my own way, with my own expertise and work with young men and this is a real privilege." – head coach Christian Streich

Key fixtures

Borussia Dortmund (a) - Matchday 19
Eintracht Frankfurt (a) - Matchday 29
Bayer Leverkusen (a) – Matchday 34

If Freiburg's challenge for UEFA Champions League football next season is to be taken seriously, their trip to second-placed Dortmund on 14 January will provide some indications. If they are still in the hunt come Matchday 29, when they travel to Frankfurt, that could be a decisive game. And how tasty does an all-or-nothing final-day trip to fellow top-four challengers Leverkusen look?

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