Goal.com looks forward to Saturday's Bundesliga game between in-form Freiburg and league leaders Dortmund...Cisse Fires Freiburg To New Heights
In a Bundesliga campaign full of early surprises there is one side who have performed admirably yet have still gone fairly unnoticed. While the likes of Mainz and Hannover earning praise for making great starts to their respective league campaigns there is another side who are slowly yet surely turning heads in Germany. That club is Freiburg.
Modest spending in the summer did little to dispel the experts predicting a relegation battle for Robin Dutt's men, especially after the side finished a lowly 14th place last season. However a star has risen from nowhere for Breisgau-Brasilianer.
Papiss Cisse arrived in January without a fuss being made from French club Metz for €1.5 million. The Senegalese striker made a decent start to his Freiburg career with six goals last term. However, the player has been on fire this campaign and currently heads the goalscoring charts with an impressive 10 goals.
The last of these goals coming in his side's previous game, a narrow 1-0 victory away to Hoffenheim. The whole team worked hard for the win but in Cisse it appears they have that one special player who can score the goals to propel a club up the league table.
Dortmund will surely prove to be Dutt's biggest test of the season so far yet in Cisse they will feel they have the man who can score against anyone right now, even a side going for their third straight clean-sheet and who already possess the best defensive (and attacking) record in the league.
Freiburg will certainly have to be at their best at Badenova-Stadion if they are going to beat runaway leaders Dortmund but stranger things have already happened in the league so far this season.
Dortmund Not Getting Carried Away
With the mini international break over the Bundesliga resumes with the league leaders Dortmund in action away to Freiburg. Four members of Jurgen Klopp's team played for the German national team on Wednesday in a 0-0 draw with Sweden.
Mats Hummels, Kevin Grosskreutz, Marcel Schmelzer and the prodigious Mario Goetze all featured for Joachim Loew and will return to North Rhine-Westphalia in good spirits. Not that spirits were not already high at Westfalenstadion. Die Borussian currently sit top of the Bundesliga, seven points clear of both Leverkusen and Mainz who are second and third respectively.
In last week's 2-0 victory over Hamburg the inexperienced side showed maturity and patience well beyond their tender years, showing no signs of letting their rivals back in the title race. Die Scwarzgelben have taken 10 wins from 12 games, an amazing achievement that has only been matched once by Bayern Munich. However despite their excellent form, it appears that no one at the club is getting carried away.
"We're certainly not building any castles in the air. We're enjoying the moment, but we don't want to weigh the lads down," Borussia general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke told the German media.
"The lads are all incredibly down-to-earth. They keep each other grounded, whenever necessary. And they get each other going as well, in the same way."
The side will certainly have to take a grounded attitude into the game with Freiburg, knowing their opponents are also flying high in fourth position. Borussia will also bear in mind that they lost this fixture 3-1 last term. However this is a different Dortmund team, this is a Dortmund team going for glory.
The home side are expected to name the same starting eleven that defeated Hoffenheim 1-0 on the road last weekend. Robin Dutt's men have several players out yet all are expected to return in the coming weeks. Captain Heiko Butscher, Johannes Flum, Simon Pouplin, Pavel Krmas and Tommy Bechmann will all miss the visit of Dortmund but have resumed training and will be in line for returns to first-team football within the next month.
Possible Starting XI: Baumann - Mujdza, Barth, Topak, Bastians - Abdessadki, Putsila, Schuster, Rosenthal, Makiadi - Cisse
Jurgen Klopp's men are unlikely to make any changes to the team who beat Hamburg 2-0 last Friday. The impressive youngster Mario Goetze is expected to continue on the right of attack after making his debut for the German national team midweek. Captain Sebastian Kehl will miss the game with the muscle injury that has kept him out for the last two months and is unlikely to play again in 2010. Patrick Owomoyela and Florian Kringe are both nearing full fitness but will sit out of Saturday's tie.
Possible Starting XI: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic, Schmelzer - Sahin, Bender - Goetze, Kagawa, Grosskreutz - Barrios