Substitute striker Nils Petersen used a hat trick to give Freiburg all three points in their Saturday afternoon encounter with Eintracht Frankfurt in a 4-1 victory.
Marco Russ’ strike in the first minute of the match handed the visitors an early lead, but a Vladimir Darida penalty on the hour mark made things all square. The home side then asserted themselves, and Petersen’s trio of goals put the match completely out of reach. The victory lifted Freiburg from the Bundesliga’s basement all the way to 13th place before Sunday’s matches, after which the SCF will drop to 14th as either Hertha BSC or Werder Bremen will necessarily earn enough points in their meeting to pass the Breisgauer.
With Freiburg sitting at the bottom of the league table at kickoff, it would be safe to assume that Christian Streich was looking get the Rückrunde off to a positive start. Conceding a goal within the first minute likely wasn’t likely what he had envisioned. Nonetheless, Marc Stendera curled a free kick from the right channel into the six yard box, and Marco Russ, the central defender moved up for the free kick, fought off a challenge from Immanuel Höhn and redirected the ball past Roman Bürki to give Frankfurt the shock early lead.
The rest of the first half was played rather evenly with both sides having chances to grab a goal. Freiburg’s best chance came in the 18th minute when a Sascha Riether diagonal ball found Mike Franz in the Frankfurt penalty area. His low drive was saved well by Kevin Trapp; the resulting corner was taken short and Felix Klaus found Julian Schuster at the edge of the area. The captain hit the ball well, but was blocked by Makoto Hasebe with what appeared to be his elbow, but claims for a penalty were waved away by referee Felix Zwayer.
Eintracht Frankfurt came very close to doubling their lead five minutes from the break. Trapp’s long punt up the field was headed by Alexander Meier to Takashi Inui. The Japanese international then sent a defence-splitting through-ball into the penalty area for the onrushing Haris Seferovic, but the striker’s sharp-angled shot was saved by the outstretched left boot of his fellow Swiss countryman Bürki.
Feeling the need to inject some offense into his team, Streich made a double switch to begin the second half replacing the right back Riether like-for-like with Oliver Sorg and taking off captain Schuster, a defensive midfielder, in favour of striker Nils Petersen, who is on loan from Werder Bremen until the end of the season.
Freiburg came close to an equalizer in the 47th minute when Johnathan Schmid latched onto a poor clearance by Frankfurt’s Anderson. Schmid hit his volley well, but sent the ball slightly wide of the right side post.
Admir Mehmedi later collected an errant cross on the left side of the Frankfurt penalty area and played the ball to a striding Christian Günter. The left back was then scythed down by a dangerous tackle from Stefan Aigner leaving Zwayer no choice but to signal for a penalty. Up stepped Vladimir Darida who sent Trapp the wrong way, slotting the ball deftly into the bottom right corner for the 1-1.
Just two minutes later, Freiburg took the lead via a lightning-quick counterattack. An errant Frankfurt through ball was intercepted by a sliding Marc Torrejón. Schmid then collected the loose ball and played a pass to Darida, who skipped past a half-hearted Hasebe challenge before sending a wonderful diagonal ball into the path of Felix Klaus. The winger sent his cross where it was to be met by the left boot of Petersen. The striker made no mistake putting the ball past Trapp, and Freiburg had gone from being 1-0 down to 2-1 up before you could bat an eye.
But they weren’t finished.
Six minutes after scoring his first, Petersen delivered his second after a bit of lovely work from Franz on the left wing dribbling smartly past two Eintracht defenders before sending in an inviting cross to the back post. The unmarked Petersen had ages to set up and head the ball past a hapless Trapp. At 3-1, Freiburg were now cruising and would ice the match two minutes from full time.
Substitute Maximilian Philipp picked up the ball in the Frankfurt end andk after a quick dribble to the edge of the penalty area. played a cheeky little backheel to Schmid. Schmid took a touch and had a look up before curling a cross to a (yet again) unmarked Petersen. The big striker’s initial header was blocked on the line by Bastian Oczipka, but he would not be denied his hat trick and put the rebound in for Freiburg’s fourth of the night.
After the match, Christian Streich said that after going down 1-0 early the team initially played far too tensely, but gradually loosened up. He also remarked on how perhaps his team were the ones on the good side of the football luck after being on the wrong end of it in the Hinrunde.
Freiburg’s next match is on Tuesday when they travel to Borussia Park for a midweek encounter with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Freiburg’s current shirt sponsor, dairy company Ehrmann, relinquished their spot on the front of the team’s trikot for the match against Frankfurt; in its place was the phrase “Sag Ja” (Say Yes) which is in reference to the public vote taking place on the 1st of February on the issue of a new 35,000 seat stadium to replace the current Schwarzwald-Stadion.
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