Preview: Freiburg vs. Qarabag FK – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Europa League clash between Freiburg and Qarabag FK, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Freiburg take on Qarabag FK in the Europa League on Thursday.

This will be Freiburg’s first match in a European group stage since the 2013-14 season, when they finished third in Group H of the Europa League.

Match preview

Freiburg boss Christian Streich on July 31, 2022© Reuters

Christian Streich was in charge for that campaign and he remains in Freiburg’s dugout, with only Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid in the middle of a longer-serving managerial reign in Europe’s top five leagues.

Last season was arguably Streich’s most successful campaign yet, having guided his side to sixth place in the Bundesliga as well as the first ever DFB-Pokal final appearance in the club’s history, with RB Leipzig dramatically beating them on penalties.

Breisgau-Brasilianer have shown no signs of resting on their laurels in the early stages of this season, either, having moved top of the Bundesliga at the weekend with a 3-2 win away to Bayer Leverkusen.

With Nantes, Olympiacos and their upcoming opponents Qarabag drawn alongside them in Group G, Streich will feel confident of taking Freiburg to the knockout stages of a European competition for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when they were defeated by Feyenoord in the third round.

Qarabag manager Gurban Gurbanov pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Qarabag, meanwhile, have an even longer-serving manager with Gurban Gurbanov having been in charge of them since 2008.

The 50-year-old has overseen a dramatic upturn in the club’s fortunes during that timeframe, guiding them to their first Azerbaijan Premier League title in 21 years in 2014. They have won seven of the ensuing eight titles since in a period of domestic dominance .

In 2017-18, Qarabag became the first ever Azerbaijani team to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, before reaching the knockout rounds of a European competition for the first time in last season’s inaugural Europa Conference League.

The Horsemen are yet to prosper in the Europa League, though, having finished third in the group on three separate occasions. Gurbanov will likely have that set out as the minimum expectation for his players, as avoiding finishing bottom would at least ensure that they remain in Europe beyond the turn of the year.

Having started the domestic season with a 100% record after four matches, they will head to Freiburg confident of causing a major upset against their in-form opponents.

Freiburg form (all competitions):

Qarabag FK form (all competitions):

Team News

Roland Sallai celebrates scoring for Freiburg on July 31, 2022© Reuters

Roland Sallai was withdrawn in only the ninth minute during Saturday’s win away to Leverkusen, after the winger suffered an eye injury which could keep him sidelined for a few weeks.

Jeong Woo-yeong replaced the Hungary international and that could be the case from the start here, with Streich potentially eyeing up a few more changes ahead of Sunday’s league match against Borussia Monchengladbach.

That could mean starts for the likes of Maximilian Eggestein, Nils Petersen, Kevin Schlotterbeck and Ritsu Doanwho all came off the bench at the weekend.

Manuel Gulde, Kimberly Ezekwem, Lucas Holler and Kevin Schade remain unavailable for the hosts through injury.

Qarabag, meanwhile, will travel without a defender Kevin Medinawho has a leg injury which is likely to keep him out until later in the month.

Having had a week since their last match, Gurbanov could elect to name the starting XI which dispatched Kapaz PFK 1-0 away from home last time out.

Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Flecken; Schmid, Gunter, Lienhart, Gunter; Hofler, Eggestein; Doan, Woo-yeong, Grifo; Petersen

Qarabag FK possible starting lineup:
Mahammadaliyev; Vesovic, Mustafazada, Huseynov, Bayramov; Richard, Romao; Kady, Ozobic, Zoubir; Owusu

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We say: Freiburg 1-0 Qarabag FK

Should Streich rotate his side, Freiburg could find this match tougher than many people might expect.

Qarabag have provided stubborn resistance to plenty of sides in Europe over the past decade, but we believe that the hosts will bag the three points with a narrow win.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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