Freiburg v Borussia Monchengladbach: Hosts to Streich out again
Freiburg's form has dipped considerably in 2020, and Kevin Hatchard can't see them causing an upset against Champions League-chasing Borussia Monchengladbach.
Freiburg v Borussia Monchengladbach Friday 05 June, 19:30 Live on Betfair Live Video and BT Sport
Gritty Freiburg still clinging to Europa League dream
Freiburg coach Christian Streich has encouraged his players to operate with freedom in the closing matches of the season, with the primary goal of survival having been long since ticked off. However, throwing off those pressure-soaked shackles is easier said than done. Freiburg have won just two of their last 11 Bundesliga matches, and at home they have lost four of their last six, and haven't scored in any of those defeats.
Scoring goals has become a problem, and you can see why. Nils Petersen is the club's top scorer this season with nine league goals, but only one of those came in 2020. Lucas Höler was clean through with only the goalkeeper to beat in last Friday's 1-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, but he placed his shot wide of the far post. That effort was indicative of his recent struggles - the former Sandhausen forward has netted just once since December 1, while Luca Waldschmidt has been struggling with injury, and only has one goal in 2020.
At the other end of the pitch, you have to worry about a team that blows a 3-1 lead in a 3-3 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, and still admits it was lucky to get a point. Keeper Alexander Schwolow made a Bundesliga record 13 saves in that match, as Freiburg were repeatedly opened up by a team that has been in poor form in 2020.
Gladbach must accelerate now to save top-four spot
Before the season resumed, I tipped Bayer Leverkusen to pip Borussia Mönchengladbach to fourth spot in the race for the Champions League, and I still think that will be the case. This weekend, however, is a golden opportunity for the Foals to open up a lead. While Leverkusen host the league leaders Bayern, Gladbach have what should be a more straightforward task.
Recent history is against Marco Rose's team. Gladbach's record at the Schwarzwald-Stadion is awful, with nine defeats and two draws from the last 11 visits. However, Freiburg have clearly suffered from the lack of fans at their ground, and Gladbach should find this a far less intimidating trip than usual.
While they were disappointing in their last away game, a goalless draw at Werder Bremen, Borussia have claimed ten points from their last four road matches. They have only lost one of their last seven league games away from Borussia Park. In the reverse fixture, they beat Freiburg 4-2.
Key midfielder Denis Zakaria is still recovering after knee surgery, so this game will come too soon for him. In his absence, Florian Neuhaus has produced some excellent displays in midfield. He scored a superb solo goal in Sunday's 4-1 win over Union Berlin, and he was by far Gladbach's best player in the 0-0 draw in Bremen.
Foals may seem skinny, but back them anyway
Given Gladbach's atrocious recent record in Freiburg, I can understand why many would shy away from backing them to win at 1.85. However, I think they have the firepower to expose Freiburg's leaky defence, and the hosts' misfiring attack shouldn't cause them too many issues.
Gladbach will have to play well, but they have racked up convincing away wins at Augsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2020, and they were moments away from securing a precious win at RB Leipzig, only for Christopher Nkunku to smash in a stunning late equaliser.
Freiburg have lost momentum, and they are regressing to the mean. They have taken just nine points from the last 11 matches, and while they will always make life tough for teams, talented strikers like Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea should be able to carve out chances.
I'll back the Foals to win here at 1.85.
Neuhaus to excel again
Florian Neuhaus is more a scorer of great goals than a great goalscorer, but he is starting to consistently dominate games now. He has scored three goals in his last ten league appearances, and while that's not a stunning ratio, he is getting into scoring positions more and more often. I'm pleasantly surprised to see him trading at 6/1 to score at any time, so I'll happily back him.
A more conventional approach would be to look at Marcus Thuram (10 league goals) and Alassane Plea (also 10) - both players are priced at 13/8 to find the net.