- Freiburg promoted back to the Bundesliga after being relegated on the last day of last season.
- The south-western side have scored more goals than any other team in Germany apart from FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund.
- Charismatic coach and impressive home form among the reasons for their success.
As a side once described by head coach Christian Streich as being "not completely unsexy", SC Freiburg certainly caught the eye in 2015/16 with their brand of attractive attacking football as they strutted straight back into the Bundesliga after last season's heart-wrenching relegation.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at how they did it...
Mastermind head coach
Relegated on the final day of 2014/15 - despite having beaten FC Bayern München on Matchday 33 - Freiburg subsequently lost a number of key players as the squad "was offered like it was a cattle market", according to Streich, an unashamedly emotional character known for his frequently entertaining off-the-cuff remarks in his thick regional accent. Goalkeeper Roman Bürki (Borussia Dortmund), winger Jonathan Schmid (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) and defender Oliver Sorg (Hannover 96), among others, all left, leaving the charismatic 50-year-old with the unenviable task of rebuilding his team. That he was able to do so in time to thrash 1. FC Nürnberg 6-3 on Matchday 1 this term is remarkable, and the close-knit group have not looked back since, spending only two weeks outside the top two.
That result against Nürnberg was no fluke; Freiburg have scored four goals or more in a further five league games so far this season en route to amassing the highest tally seen in the division in recent years (currently at 72). Striker Nils Petersen, who stayed at the club despite relegation, has led the charge by finding the net a league-high 21 times, while midfielder and set-piece expert Vincenzo Grifo has provided more assists (ten) than any other Bundesliga 2 player. The winter arrival of Florian Niederlechner has added another prong to Die Breisgauer's attack, the 1. FSV Mainz 05 loanee chipping in with six goals and an assist in 11 outings.
Visiting Freiburg's Schwarzwald-Stadion may not sound like the most intimidating of tasks – the 24,000 capacity arena sits on the banks of the babbling Dreisam River, framed by a backdrop of picturesque mountains in Germany's sunniest city – yet Striech's men have made it the toughest place to play at in Bundesliga 2. Of their 16 matches there so far, SCF have won 12, drawn two and lost two, while averaging almost three goals per game.