This game was the very last one before the international break, victory would see Freiburg return to the top of the table, just one goal stood between them and leapfrogging Leipzig. This time round I got my wish, thanks to a Mike Frantz goal they went into the international break at the top of the league. It’s only on goal difference but it all counts. Nothing can ruin this, not even the fact that the first 45 minutes has to rank as one of their worst performances this season. Not quite as bad as the Heidenheim game though. Last time against KSC they drew 1-1 and it was a fair result, a little bit lucky truth be told, for both teams. They left it late that time, Nils Petersen scoring in the 89th minute. A goal you would think had to be the winner, a goal which would have been the winner had it not been for Vadim Manzon. Another important fact about the KSC game is that the reverse of the fixture saw Freiburg extend their unbeaten run to seven games. This time they achieved something even better, six wins in a row. Random interesting fact, Bielefeld who Alexander Schwolow played for last season ran up a record of their own, seven games without a win, the longest winless streak in the league. Funny how things work out. The only reason Freiburg had a chance to go top is thanks to 1.FCN beating Leipzig 3-1 on Sunday. I didn’t see the game, I couldn’t bear to watch. Not to mention the fact I’m not getting out of bed that early on a Sunday for anyone but Freiburg.
The first half wasn’t great, a few chances but none that were taken. It’s ironic that Mike Frantz got their first opportunity of the game. He was never going to get there though. Abrashi on the other hand was gifted a chance just a few seconds later which could have been something but he took too long to take the shot. In the first half KSC had the better chances to score, including the goal they did actually score but which thank the gods was offside. KSC failed to make any of them count, bar that one. In particular Diamantakos had a great chance 15 minutes in but he like Abrashi just took too long about it, Günter stayed with him and eventually had no trouble stopping him in his tracks.
The first half continued like that, what few chances Freiburg had they didn’t take. It wasn’t the most entertaining of games and they went into half-time with the score at 0-0. It surely couldn’t stay that way and not just because they really needed to win. More because Freiburg don’t really do draws and goalless draws are a particularly uncommon experience. Freiburg certainly didn’t look like the best offensive team in the league. KSC on the other hand did look like what they are, one of the worst offensive teams. They’ve scored just 25 goals, to put that into perspective that’s only two more than Duisburg and Paderborn who are in the bottom two spots.
Whatever Christian Streich said at half-time it seemed to work because they came out fighting at the start of the second half, the first real chance on goal coming in the 48th minute with Frantz getting an opportunity to take the lead. It’s fitting that he got the first shot on goal in the second half seeing as he would in a short while go on to score the only goal of the game. Another chance was to come just a minute later and there was a little bit of luck involved for KSC. Their keeper harassed by Petersen misplaced a pass, Abrashi was there to capitalise and came very close to making it 1-o. After playing reasonably well in the first half and battling hard KSC started to make a few mistakes, letting the pressure get to them and misplacing passes. Höfler took advantage of just such a mistake to help himself to a shot on goal which wasn’t far away. You got the feeling the balance of play was shifting in Freiburg’s favour, a goal seemed to in the offing. Another good chance came for Grifo in the 57th minute, his shot being tipped over the bar by Rene Vollath. Grifo of course took the resulting corner which was duly headed into the net by Mike Frantz, his fifth goal of the season. That goal sent Freiburg to the top of the table and resulted in a very nervy 32 minutes.
The final half an hour saw KSC come close to equalising a few times, a header luckily deflected by a defender and what would have been a free shot at goal had there been someone there to meet Diamantakos’ pass. Freiburg had a few chances too but if they were to double their lead Mike Frantz would play no part in it, being taken off with 15 minutes to go and replaced by winter signing Harvard Nielsen. They made their second change a few minutes later with Karim Guede replacing Maximilian Philipp. Despite making two offensive minded changes they weren’t taking any major risks. Indeed their third and final change saw defender Mensur Mujdza replace striker Nils Petersen. The last few minutes of the game weren’t with out excitement, KSC making an absurd call for a penalty after Höfler made a somewhat comical mistake in the box. He accidentally kicked up the ball towards his own hand, in no world would the referee have given anything for that. One of the KSC players managed to talk himself into a yellow card because of the incident. The final few minutes saw the tussle from earlier in the game resuming and something of a flurry of cards, with Guede and then another KSC player also seeing yellow. On that matter the drama wasn’t over, in the second minute of extra time Peitz saw his second yellow card for hitting Höfler in the face. Abrashi in his usual way almost talking himself into trouble in the process. Just 30 odd seconds stood between Freiburg reclaiming their spot at the top of the table. And then that was that, all over. No last minute winner this time, no annoying Russian jokers. Just Freiburg getting to spend the international break at the top of the table.