THE Bundesliga continues on Friday and here Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) sets the scene ahead of Freiburg's fixture with Bayer Leverkusen.
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen | Friday 29th May 2020, 19:30 | BT Sport
The tough games keep coming for Freiburg as they host high-flying Bayer Leverkusen just days after their extraordinary draw away at Frankfurt in which they somehow came away with a result.
Christian Streich’s men had their backs to the wall for so much of the Frankfurt game but, much like the majority of the season, they defied the data and the odds to win some points. You won’t find Streich or anyone representing Freiburg apologising for how ruthless and efficient they are though, especially three goals scored themselves against an Expected Goals (xG) return of 0.76.
This season’s surprise package may have become more inconsistent as the season has progressed, but their tactical flexibility has been impressive and their direct approach has brought rewards against the best sides in the division, particularly at home. Only Bayern Munich of the top six have come away from Schwarzwald-Stadion with a win and without the ball, Freiburg will happily drop deep and aim to frustrate their opponents.
It’s when Streich’s team come up against clubs in the lower reaches that they have struggled at home however, losing to all the current bottom three of Paderborn, Werder Bremen and Fortuna Dusseldorf. This game should be far more one-sided in nature than those contests though which may just suit the Black and Whites with a counter-attacking approach and exploiting the space Leverkusen will leave in behind their best route to goal.
Freiburg have conceded a huge total of 18 shots per-game on average despite them sitting eighth in the table and Tuesday’s stalemate saw them on the receiving end of a barrage of 34 efforts on goal from Frankfurt. Against this season’s top-six, that average rises to 19 per-game which includes a 27 figure recorded in the reverse draw in Leverkusen.
They could well be on the end of a Leverkusen backlash here after Die Werkself’s humbling to Wolfsburg so I’m surprised to see the away team’s shot line at Over 15.5 with Bet365 priced at even-money – 17+ Leverkusen shots is 11/8 with SkyBet and it makes sense to add that in too.
Bayer scrapped the 3-4-3 system they started Tuesday’s loss with to revert to a system with more width and I think they could start with the latter here. Stretching the play will be crucial to breaking Freiburg’s stubborn low block down and finding a route to goal.
Kai Havertz is likely to continue to lead the line as a centre-forward again and considering his 12 shots in three games, I’m really surprised to see the 6/5 with WilliamHill on Over 2 shots for the wonderkid available. I’ll add this in as my third selection.
If Peter Bosz rotates, which looks like is much needed after that flat 4-1 defeat, then the fresh legs may just do the job here in getting Bayer back on track for sealing that top four finish the club so craves. One area of concern will be the team’s weakness of defending set-pieces which was ruthlessly exposed in midweek but the return of the leadership and presence of Jonathan Tah to the backline could remedy that problem.
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen – Bayer Leverkusen Over 15.5 Team Shots (1/1 Bet365)
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen – Bayer Leverkusen 17+ Team Shots (11/8 SkyBet)
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen – Kai Havertz Over 2 Shots (6/5 William Hill)