Once Juventus locked in its place in the Europa League Round of 16, the attention immediately turned to who the Bianconeri could be draw against. There were familiar names, there were recent European opponents and then there were those that Juve had very little history with, if any at all.
Juventus got one of those teams in which there isn’t much history there at all.
When all of the balls had been draw and the matchups for the Europa League Round of 16 were set, Juve found themselves with an opponent that they’ve lined up against few times before — Bundesliga side Freiburg. This will be the first meeting between the two sides, with Freiburg having currently in the midst of one of the club’s best seasons in its history.
The first leg of the Round of 16 tie will take place on Thursday, March 9, in Turin, with the two teams squaring off in Germany a week later on March 16.
Freiburg, manager by Christian Streich, is one of the four teams that is currently in the midst of arguably the most competitive title race in all of Europe’s top five leagues. They may be sitting in fourth place, but they enter the weekend just three points behind Bayern Munich, the team that has dominated the Bundesliga for the last decade.
Freiburg’s leading scorer just so happens to be an Italian: Vincenzo Grifo, who has found the back of the net 11 times this season.
Freiburg has yet to lose a game in the Europa League this season, having won their group with four wins and a pair of draws. Their form domestically, however, has not been as strong recently, with two of their four losses on the season coming since play resumed after the World Cup break.
“It’s our first meeting against a strong team that is doing well, unbeaten in the group stage, having beaten Nantes among others,” said Gianluca Pessotto, Juventus’ Football Teams Staff Coordination Manager. “Freiburg are an opponent that must be taken seriously.”