FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, GERMANY - APRIL 28: Sebastian Freis (R) of Freiburg celebrates his team's fourth goal with team mate Daniel Caligiuri during the Bundesliga match between SC Freiburg and 1. FC Koeln at Badenova Stadium on April 28, 2012 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Freiburg were looking relegation in the eye during the winter break, but new manager Christrian Streich turned things around and kept them safely in the Bundesliga. Will he do the same this year?
Team: SC Freiburg
Manager: Christian Streich
Key Additions: Max Kruse, Vegar Eggen Hedenstad
Key Losses: Stefan Reisinger
2011-2012 Finish: Bundesliga 12th
2012-2013 Prediction: Robin Dutt lead SC Freiburg to 9th place and their best finish in a decade in the 2010-11 season. He then departed for Bayer Leverkusen, and the club moved quickly to appoint Marcus Sorg as the new manager. After a miserable first half to their 2011-12 campaign where the club only managed to acquire 13 points. Sorg was dismissed and Christian Streich was appointed the new manager.
Streich spent 16 years as the manager of the youth squad, and was appointed a first team assistant under Dutt. His ascent to the first team manager position was a sign that the club wanted to maintain some semblance of stability even while they would be in a fight the rest of the season to avoid relegation. Even with the sale of Papiss Cisse to Newcastle United in January, Streich retooled the side and picked up a remarkable 27 points on the club's way to safety and a 12th place finish. Streich was named the Bundesliga manager of the year by the league's official magazine, Goal!
Freiburg were active in this window bringing in young players to add depth and cement their stay in the Bundesliga. They brought in Max Kruse from St. Pauli and Marco Terrazzino from Karlsruher. Kruse can play in the midfield or up top, and he scored 22 goals in 96 appearances for St. Pauli. Ezequiel Calvente has been brought in on loan from Real Betis. He's a winger that played 15 times in the second division of Spain. They have the option to buy him outright at the end of the season, so he should get opportunities to show if he's good enough for the Bundesliga. A definite player to watch for the future is Vegar Eggen Hedenstad. He's a right back that's made the move to Freiburg from Norwegian club Stabaek. Hedenstad just made his debut for the Norwegian national team this year and has a bright future ahead of him. Their main departure is striker Stefan Reisinger. He filled a supersub role for Freiburg last year, and they'll need to find a replacement for that position this season.
If Freiburg are going to be successful this year, then Sebastian Freis needs to find his scoring boots. The 27 year old made the move over from Köln in January, and he managed to score 3 goals in 15 appearances. With the attacking trio of Johannes Flum, Cedric Makiadi, and Daniel Caligiuri behind him, he'll receive opportunities. They won't be aplenty, so he will have to learn to become more efficient in front of the net. Freis has the potential to be a 7-10 goal scorer, and Freiburg's success could very well depend on his ability to find goals.
Freiburg should find this season a little less challenging than last. They goals will come for them this year. Their biggest concern will be defensively. They shipped the third most goals last season, and it must improve this season. Oliver Baumann is a talented young goalkeeper, but he shouldn't be facing several dozen shots a match. Freiburg won't crack the top ten at the end of the season, but they should finish at a comfortable enough spot in the table that they aren't worried about relegation on the final matchday.