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Underdog Freiburg among Europe's best******
By Oliver Trust。
BERLIN, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- To know what Napoli, Milan, Liverpool, and the SC Freiburg have in common seems like the answer to a one-million-dollar question.。
While the trio from Italy and England have been drawing international attention for decades, the German side is mostly gliding below the radar.。
But currently, all four clubs are the only unbeaten teams in the top European leagues. Freiburg for a good reason stands out as being rather exotic among the collection.。
Far from consistent international glory, the small club is a shining example of an alternative draft as today's football seems stuck in an identity crisis. Player's salaries seem to explode as investments of foreign investors do the same.。
Despite being relegated several times, the club preserved a remarkable resilience and never gave up its principles.。
At present, Freiburg is back in the headlines. Not because of the similarity with Napoli, Milan, and Liverpool, but because the side collected 22 points after 10 rounds of matches in the Bundesliga.。
This means they will meet league leader Bayern in the league's top act this weekend as third of the tableau.。
Freiburg's upswing is no surprise, but it includes acting calmly when setbacks hit the club. To be small but competitive seems the general rule.。
The club stands for a policy far from measures of an often overheated market in football. Briefly, the club follows the proven pattern to educate young players, count on the same coach over many years, and keep his leadership board steady.。
In December, Christian Streich is crossing the 10-year-line as head coach after he worked for the side for over 25 years in various coaching positions.。
The club is a safe haven for players not among the world of glittering stars but providing the chance to slowly develop. Streich's demand to play a passionate and energy-taking football comes along with his mantra to form a team of companions caring for each other.。
Moving to a new arena after over 50 years indicates, the club has meanwhile gained ground. Having outpaced clubs like Bielefeld, Furth, Cologne, Hamburg, and others seems no reason for megalomania.。
"We might have special soft skills as players can feel comfortable, but at the same time know there is no reason to rest," Streich explained.。
Like the coach, the club is employing players who have been with the side for several years, some even came back after being unhappy with other clubs. Many developed into their countries internationals at a young age.。
Facing Freiburg has turned into an unpopular issue as the team delivers a fight until the final whistle. "We play football because we love it," the coach added.。
Ahead of the away game in Munich, no one is talking about the chance to qualify for the Champions League. Protagonists keep on talking about securing their place in the first tier.。
"We talk about the possibility to win the game because we can, but not about the Champions League," defender Lukas Kubler commented. "If we start with bold dreaming, it might go wrong."
The unbeaten status might as well end this weekend. But no one in Freiburg is concerned, while mentioned along with Napoli, Milan, and Liverpool that might be the most significant difference. Enditem。
Clasico not decisive, but Koeman needs a win to avoid more questions over his future******
MADRID, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona entertain Real Madrid in the first of at least three meetings between the two clubs this season when the two teams meet in the Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon.
Spain's traditional rivals will play each other again in the semifinals of the Spanish Supercup in January, as well as in the second league game at the end of March, but this game will probably set the tone for the coming months.
Barca go into the match after a 3-1 win at home to Valencia and a vital 1-0 victory against Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday night to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
However, neither of the displays were particularly convincing and a heavy defeat to Madrid would mean coach Ronald Koeman's job remains under threat.
Koeman will be without injured Ronald Araujo, arguably his best defender at the moment, while young midfielder Pedri is also sidelined with a knee injury and left back Jordi Alba will need a late test on an ankle injury he picked up in midweek.
Araujo's injury will see Eric Garcia play in defense, while 17-year-old Gavi will probably continue in midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong, while Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay will lead the Barca attack.
Fati signed a new contract until 2027 on Friday and the 18-year-old will carry many of Barca's hopes on his young shoulders.
Real Madrid travel to Barcelona after a 5-0 win away to Shakhtar Donetsk, which ended a worrying run of form for Carlo Ancelotti's side, and the Italian would again be under the stoplight if his side lose in the Camp Nou.
Ancelotti has good news on the injury front, with Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal near returning to full fitness, although he is unlikely to risk either of the injury prone duo.
Ferland Mendy's return at left back gives the defense better balance, while Ancelotti will return to his experienced trio of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric in midfield, with Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavigna able to provide energy from the bench.
Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr will carry Real Madrid's attacking hopes, with the in-form duo posing a huge threat to a Barca defense that has failed to convince at times.
Although there are just two points between the two teams and a game in matchday 10 0f LaLiga is not decisive, there is a feeling this game will have a big influence on the coming weeks and it is vital for Barca's stabilty to avoid defeat. Enditem
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