By Rune Gjerulff @runegjerulff
Here is our preview, including predicted line-ups, for Thursday’s Europa League round of 16 second leg clash between Freiburg and Juventus.
SC Freiburg will be looking to overturn a one-goal deficit when they host Juventus at home on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
After a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first leg, Freiburg’s hopes of progressing remain alive, especially with the game taking place at the Europa-Park Stadium, where Christian Streich’s men haven’t lost since August.
Nevertheless, Streich is well aware that Juventus remain clear favorites to advance.
“We have to do everything to get the stadium behind us and then you know what football’s like. Football is impossible to predict. Anything other than Juventus getting through would be an enormous surprise. We will give it a go,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
Freiburg ended a three-game winless streak with a narrow 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Hoffenheim on Saturday, while Juventus are coming off a 4-2 victory over Sampdoria.
Angel Di Maria missed that game, and the Argentine wizard could be absent once more against Freiburg.
“You never know what’s going to happen when a player like di Maria is on the pitch,” said Streich.
“He makes any team better. It will be nice if he can play because then the fans in Freiburg will be able to watch him play. When a player like that isn’t able to play it’s a shame for football – but also, we won’t be complaining,” added the Freiburg coach, who has yet to decide whether to play with three or four at the back.
“The one system works better defensively. Against Hoffenheim, we played a 4-2-3-1 because we wanted to have a man more on the pitch in attack. There are always positives and negatives, so I am not 100% certain myself,” noted Streich.
Freiburg will be hoping to have Philipp Lienhart fit again, with the centre-back battling with time to recover from the injury that kept him out of the Hoffenheim game.
Click here to see our predicted lineups for the game.