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Match Preview: Dortmund Head to Freiburg Looking to Keep Pace with Bayern

A win here is a necessity for our title hopes

Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

With the season quickly reaching its conclusion, Borussia Dortmund travel to take on SC Freiburg as they look to keep pace with league-leader Bayern Munich. Christian Pulisic and Raph Guerreiro have been made active following their lengthy absences due to injury, shoring up a thin winger spot while adding much-needed offensive reinforcements for the squad as they are coming off a butt-clenching 2-1 win over Mainz.

I see the return of Guerreiro back into the starting XI, shifting a disappointing Bruun Larsen back to the bench, but other than that I see much of the same lineup that Favre put on the field against Mainz last week. The only reason we shouldn’t see Bürki in net is if he’s injured, which he isn’t. The back four probably won’t change much either, with Weigl shifting into centerback next to Akanji, and Diallo and Wolf out on the wings. With a central-midfield pairing of Witsel and Delaney most likely to be played, that should mean Reus in front of them and Götze as the center forward, with Raph and Sancho out on the wings.

Currently sitting 15th in the table and four points ahead of Schalke in the relegation zone (lol), Freiburg have won only two points in their last four matches. However, one of those points came in a shock draw against Bayern Munich, so they’re very much capable of pulling off a positive result against better teams. And this match will be held at Schwarzwald-Stadion, where they’ve been much more successful during the season. With Nils Petersen unavailable with an injury, German center forward Luce Waldschmidt is another scoring threat for Freiburg with eight league goals. As for what they’ll do defensively, I’d be shocked if they did anything other than bunker deep and wait for an opportunity to counter. BVB has had problems breaking down teams that are packed together in defense, and I don’t see Freiburg shifting from that plan until they see their opening for a nasty counter-attack.

Prediction: Win, 2-1

Dortmund haven’t lost to Freiburg in 15 matches, and they’ve lost only twice in their last 18 away matches to Freiburg. While it would be the perfect time for both of those streaks to end, I don’t see it happening. If Dortmund can capitalize on their chances while playing aggressive for a whole 90 minutes (big ask, I know), then I don’t see why they can’t pull out a W to keep themselves one-point off Bayern, who just eked out a 1-0 win over 10-men Werder Bremen.