Freiburg coach Christian Streich described Thursday's hosts as “favourites for the group” as the men from the Black Forest travel to the balmier climes of southern Spain eyeing their first win in Group H against a club which won this competition in 2006 and 2007.
'Crazily high tempo'
“They’ll play with a crazily high tempo and press right on top of us,” continued Streich, who, with the tie representing his team’s sixth game in 19 days, still has half an eye on the club's weekend fixture: “We’ve got lots of things to do, particularly with trying to focus on Thursday and then against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Sunday, we’ll see who plays.”
One man who won’t be appearing is Karim Guede, who was sent off in Freiburg’s opening Group H match at home against Slovan Liberec. A second-half implosion in that game led to Freiburg throwing away a two-goal lead and eventually drawing 2-2. The result was symptomatic of Freiburg’s travails this season, with their 5-0 hammering at the hands of Borussia Dortmund last Saturday hardly the confidence-boosting preparation Streich would have liked.
With that in mind, one of the last men the visitors would want to see is that of Sevilla’s Marko Marin, who faced Freiburg six times during his time with SV Werder Bremen, coming out on top on five occasions while scoring twice. Marin lines up in midfield alongside former FC Schalke 04 stars Ivan Rakitic and Piotr Trochowski, with the latter warning his team-mates to “play sensibly” because he “knows all about this opposition”.
Nevertheless, Streich’s hand has been weakened by the unavailability of Vladimir Darida and Mensur Mujdza, but he can at least count on the, albeit limited, European experience of on-loan Arsenal FC midfielder Francis Coquelin as they aim to kick-start their sluggish start to 2013/14.
Sevilla FC: Beto - Coke, Cala, Pareja, Alberto Moreno - Iborra, Rakitic - Jairo, Marin, Trochowski - Gameiro
SC Freiburg: Baumann - Sorg, Krmas, Ginter, C. Günter - Fernandes, Schuster - Schmid, Mehmedi, Coquelin - Freis