Dortmund - It has been a busy couple of weeks for Borussia Dortmund and their guests on Saturday afternoon, SC Freiburg, in like measure. Both went into last weekend's Bundesliga assignments on the back of an underwhelming start to their respective UEFA Champions League and Europa League group phase campaigns, and each was likewise involved in a strenuous DFB Cup tie in the run-up to this meeting.
Stats on Dortmund's side
The Schwarzgelben edged past TSV 1860 München in extra time on Tuesday while a day later, Freiburg in a reversal of last season's semi-final result, to book their place in the third round of the knockout competition as well.
Asked whether the extra day available to them for regeneration gives his side an added advantage on Matchday 7, Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp said he didn't think so, adding somewhat cryptically, "It's a disadvantage if you think it's an advantage." On the statistical front, at any rate, last season's Bundesliga runners-up scarcely seem in need of any further assistance. BVB have won their last six home games against Freiburg, scoring 16 goals and conceding one. And the Black Forest club have only tasted victory once in 14 attempts in this particular fixture, back in 2001.
History aside, the teams could hardly be further apart at the moment as far as the standings go. Dortmund are top of the table, alongside FC Bayern - Freiburg are second from bottom, on a paltry three points from their opening six matches. That said, there is little to choose between them form-wise based on the last couple of results, each having preceded their cup win with a 1-1 draw in the league. Borussia relinquished the division's last 100 percent record at 1. FC Nürnberg, while Freiburg shared the spoils with newly-promoted Hertha Berlin at home.
Streich lauds loyalty
Klopp, in any case, is in no doubt that Saturday's visitors are "significantly better than the table suggests," not least on the back of a cup performance against Stuttgart that "really looked like football Freiburg-style again." And in order to come out on top against opponents who "have put more miles on the clock than any other team so far," the head coach knows "we're going to have to invest an awful lot." Aside from longer-term absentees Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Gündogan and Lukasz Piszczek, Marcel Schmelzer is Dortmund's main injury concern with a thigh muscle problem, although Klopp is hopeful that the full back, who netted a direct free-kick at Nurnberg, will be fit enough to start.
His Freiburg counterpart Christian Streich meanwhile, having praised his team for "working their socks off yet again," used the press conference after the victory over Stuttgart to reflect on what he described as the "out-of-the-ordinary attitude" of players such as keeper Oliver Baumann and midfielder Jonathan Schmid, both of whom have committed longer term to Freiburg in recent weeks. "This club has given them an incredible amount, and now they're giving an incredible amount back," said the coach. Their next opportunity to do so will come in front of an 80,000-strong crowd, against one of the European game's finest ensembles.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer (Durm) - Bender, Sahin - Blaszczykowski (Reus), Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang - Lewandowski
Freiburg: Baumann - Sorg, Diagne, Ginter, Günter - Fernandes, Schuster - Schmid, Kerk - Freis, Hanke