Fine-tooth comb in hand, bundesliga.com runs the rule over the die Breisgauer's prospects ahead of the emotional rollercoaster that is Germany's top flight...
Admir Mehmedi's decision to make his loan move permanent will have come as a massive boost for the modest south-west club. Freiburg lost a handful of integral bodies on the back of their top-five finish in 2012/13, but there was never any doubt on the Swiss World Cup-goer's part where his future lay. "The club put their trust in me and I've managed to repay it," the twelve-goal Bundesliga hitman explained. "It will be good for both of us that we can continue working together."
Serbian international centre-back Stefan Mitrovic has a lot to live up to following Matthias Ginter's move to boyhood favourites Borussia Dortmund. The 24-year-old is known for his tough-tackling approach, reads the game well and at 1.88 metres tall offers a decent threat from set pieces at the other end. "The Bundesliga's going to be a great challenge," the former Real Valladolid CF loanee told scfreiburg.de. "The club really impressed me and I'm sure it's the right step for my career."
A staunch purveyor of German football's , Christian Streich has developed quite the reputation for nurturing local prospects and throwing them straight in at the domestic deep end. Departed goalkeeper Oliver Baumann and defensive expert Ginter excelled under the 49-year-old's wing and though the duo are set to start the new campaign elsewhere, the Freiburg nurseryman still has a whole host of under-25-year-old talent to call on in 2014/15.
Freiburg found the going tough early in 2013/14, with Christian Streich's thin-on-the-ground squad not exactly conducive to balancing Bundesliga and UEFA Europa League football. They had to wait until Matchday 11 to pick up their first league win of the season (3-0 away to 1. FC Nürnberg), but once out of Europe, die Breisgauer began to slowly pull clear of the relegation zone, ending the campaign nine points clear of the bottom three in 14th.
Another season of survival with room to spare will be the minimum requirement, but that's not to say a top-half-of-the-table finish is beyond the realms of possibility. "We lost five players last summer, but there hasn't been that upheaval this time," Streich explained. "We're working hard and keeping ourselves to ourselves. We want to stay in the Bundesliga, but we don't want to be fighting right up until the final day."
New recruits Roman Bürki and Sebastian Mielitz will be vying for the position of number one goalkeeper following Baumann's move to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Mitrovic will almost certainly go straight into the back four in Ginter's stead, but returning full-back Sascha Riether may have a tougher task deposing Oliver Sorg on the right-hand side. Mike Frantz will hope to play his way into Streich's four-man midfield at the expense of Felix Klauß, Julian Schuster, Vladimir Darida or Jonathan Schmid, while Karim Guede will once again partner Mehmedi in attack.
Freiburg's performances during pre-season have probably been at about the level you'd expect from a side most likely to be scrapping for points in the season ahead. Streich's men overcame several provincial outfits with ease but, they could only manage 1-1 drawa with VfR Aalen and Stoke City FC. Further wins over St Gallen and Freiburger FC followed, while defeats to Torpedo Moskva and Stade Rennais were forgotten after a comfortable 2-0 win over FC Trier in the DFB Cup.