BERLIN: Bayern Munich will be rushing to fix their leaky defence ahead of Sunday's (Jan 17) meeting with Freiburg, knowing that any mistakes will cost them against one of Europe's form sides.
Previous encounters between Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern, who are chasing a record-extending ninth straight league crown, and minnows Freiburg would normally be a footnote to the campaign but things are different this time.
Freiburg are on a five-game winning run, their longest ever in the league, and with 16 goals scored and two conceded it is the best sequence of any team in Europe's top five leagues.
A 5-0 thrashing of Cologne last week was their biggest Bundesliga victory.
It is a completely different story for the league leaders, who are two points clear of RB Leipzig. Bayern have already conceded 24 goals in 15 games, their worst run since 1981.
They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 10 league games, and have fallen behind in nine of them. They squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at Borussia Moenchengladbach last week.
Bayern also suffered a stunning second-round exit in the German Cup to second division side Holstein Kiel on Wednesday, twice being pegged back to draw 2-2 before losing 6-5 in a shootout, their earliest exit from the competition in 21 years.
"We keep seeing the same pattern," Bayern coach Hansi Flick said. "We have to become more compact in defence, have more pressure on the ball. The last line also has to be more solid and we must train that."
Flick has yet to find his ideal defensive set-up with Niklas Suele, David Alaba and Benjamin Pavard all playing well below their best. Alphonso Davies is also still progressing after returning from injury.
Bayern, who had virtually no pre-season following their five-title haul in 2020, had to put things right at training ahead of the weekend, said Flick.
"We need to analyse everything that has happened and work hard on Friday and Saturday," he added.