Schalke vs SC Freiburg PreviewBy: Shane | September 21st, 2010
Schalke vs SC Freiburg
For US based fans nobody is hosting the match. Good luck with streams and try to avoid their pesky viruses! I’ve got work during the match time so I might miss this one or try to catch it on Schalke TV tomorrow night.
Just for fun I looked up the odds on our match with Freiburg and was quite surprised to see we were viewed as the favorite. Here we are 0-4 in the BL and 0-1 in the CL against a team who is 3-1 in the BL and on the road and somehow we are favored. The only insight this has given me is that clearly not many people are watching us play and are still thinking “Freiburg was supposed to be a relegation struggler and Schalke a title challenger. Schalke must be the favorite even despite their bad start.” Oh, no ladies and gentlemen, you cannot have watched this team all season to imagine we could be favorites.
Freiburg was a sort of bogey team for us last year drawing them 0-0 at the Badenova and losing 1-0 at home. In their 2nd year in the top flight they’ve had an easy opening schedule taking on bottom of the half table teams like St. Pauli, Nurnberg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. These 4 teams have a combined 3 wins between them. They haven’t won emphatically or looked overly impressive but they’ve gotten the job done and are on a 3 match winning streak. Last year they played a much more open style and as a result leaked a ton of goals. This year has been a more conservative approach. When last year’s main scorer Idrissou left for Monchengladbach people penciled in Freiburg for a bottom of table finish. His striker replacement, Cisse, has been a revelation scoring 4 goals in 4 matches. The other key player has been back-up goal keeper Baumann who was sensational against Stuttgart and then had another quality match last Friday against Frankfurt.
Freiburg’s formation is a 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-2-2-1 and mostly gets width from full-backs and more attacking players. Like any smart side these days they frequently clog the center of midfield with 3 players. This, obviously, has been a huge problem for us with our 2 DM’s being overrun. Magath has to change our formation. Right now everything is static. Fullbacks do not getting into the attack, there are no overlapping runs. The spacing between defense to midfield to strikers is gaping and each group operates in their own little world making 0 runs and waiting to receive the ball or for someone else to produce a bit of magic. The ball is played to static wingers on the touchline and everything sits and watches what they do or the ball is hefted up the pitch towards the strikers to easily be brushed aside by the defense.
The formation clearly needs re-working. Here would be my proposal, which I’m sure Magath won’t do, but whatever.
Jurado replaces Raul and we switch to a 4-2-3-1. This change on paper appears subtle because really all the happens is Jurado plays closer to midfield than the further forward Raul, but this helps us tremendously to link midfield to attack and get creativity. Raul has been a ghost and he cannot be justified to get another start. The line-up does not make sense with him in it right now.
The other options I would consider would be a 4-1-2-3 or 4-2-1-3 where you play 3 DM-like players such as Jones, Kluge and Rakitic and then a forward 3 of Huntelaar in center, Jurado on left and Farfan on right. We have to remove the mismatch of 2v3 in the center of midfield.
Injury-wise Jones is supposed to be back fit. Uchida still injured and Plestan out because of his red card. Matip should fill in for Plestan at CB. The fullbacks I imagine Magath will stay consistent with Sarpei and Moritz, although they have not been stellar. The way Rakitic has been playing I would consider benching him, but the options to fill in for him are too limited. Kluge didn’t look any better and Matip will have to play CB.
I expect Magath to continue to beat a dead horse and assume that are current line-up and formation are fine and the only problem is they have not played with each other enough. I think this is egregiously incorrect. He must play Jurado. He must mix it. Stop being stubborn and admit this line-up is crap. Shake up the team and slap some sense into them. The season is already slipping (has slipped?) away. Some kind of dramatic change is required.
Let’s get a god damn point. I’ll settle for anything. Come on!