At the end of “die englische Woche” Freiburg played host to Vincenzo Grifo’s former team FSV Frankfurt. Though he wasn’t in the starting eleven, instead coming on as a substitute in the 71st minute for Lucas Hufnagel. Also on the bench was Patric Klandt who of course came to Freiburg from Frankfurt. To make it trio of players going up against their old teams leading the attack for Frankfurt was Dani Schahin who played for Freiburg last season, having been on loan to them from Mainz.
It was all things considered a good time to be playing mid table Frankfurt after the game on Thursday night against RB Leipzig. After the considerable exertion which went into winning that point it was a welcome change of pace to be playing Frankfurt. It was also fortuitous that it was Frankfurt up first and not KSC which was the game after this one. The reason being that game was every bit as much a battle as the Leipzig one had been. Frankfurt on the other hand whilst they were not unworthy opponents and did not lose their heads against Freiburg were eventually broken down. It was a test of patience and concentration more than anything else, Frankfurt needing to remain disciplined in order to keep Freiburg from posing any threat. With Frankfurt putting all their energy into maintaining their defensive strategy and Freiburg no doubt being somewhat tired from the game against Leipzig the game got off to a bit of a slow start. Fifteen minutes into the first half and there was still no real chance for either side, no anything approaching a play which looked remotely dangerous. It took until the 25th minute for Freiburg to get close to having a real chance. But it remained an almost chance since Maximillian Philipp was brought down in the box before he was able to get a shot off. He was calling for a penalty but none was given.
After this the pace of the game started to pick up with Frankfurt getting an opportunity of their own just two minutes later. Their fast break down the left however came to a swift end when the only man in the box to receive the ball found himself surrounded by a swarm of Freiburg players. This is something Freiburg did well pretty much the whole game. When they lost the ball they almost always regained possession extremely quickly, Frankfurt weren’t allowed any considerable amount of time on the ball meaning it was difficult for them to really put anything together. They looked a little harried and often found themselves surrounded by three or four Freiburg players. Wherever they where there was someone to greet them.
From this point onward things started to get a little more exciting and Freiburg were given the chance to open the scoring in the 29th minute when they were awarded a penalty. The strangest thing happened, Petersen stepped up to take it and it was saved by the keeper. He would prove to have something of a quiet day, he didn’t get on the score sheet at all which is a little unusual. It wasn’t a problem however because Frantz and Hufnagel both had a good game. Frantz himself had a few good chances before the first goal was scored by Maximillian Philipp in the 38th minute. Höfler did well to win the ball back and to shield it in order to make the pass whereupon the waiting Phillipp nicely took his shot and struck it perfectly into the lower left corner, right past the keeper who despite being right there saw nothing until it hit the back of the net. It’s only his second goal of the season, he’s usually setting up goals than scoring them so it’s nice to see him get on the score sheet. He had plenty of time and room to take his shot, there were three defenders making their way to him but none of them were close or quick enough. Freiburg’s patience paid off and they continued putting pressure on Frankfurt immediately at the start of the second half. The game was theirs for the taking if they wanted it and knowing this they wasted no time in putting a little bit more pressure on Frankfurt. Their efforts were rewarded quickly when Amir Abrashi made it 2-0 in the 48th minute in a terrific solo effort from him. He made his run down the left hand side but instead of setting someone else up he took the shot. Evidently Frankfurt had not learnt their lesson from earlier he like Philipp had plenty of time and space. There were three defenders there, one nearby, one next to him and one in front of him. Yet they all reacted too slow.
By now Freiburg were firmly in control and looked unlikely to sacrifice their hard earned 2-0 lead. Frankfurt did pose more of a threat in the second half and Schwolow actually had some real saves to make but apart from that it was all Freiburg. Frantz set up a couple of more chances including a very nice back heeled pass to Christian Günter which unfortunately went straight to the waiting keeper. Petersen got an opportunity in a one on one with the keeper but the keeper pushed the ball out to a waiting Philipp who despite having plenty of time put it wide. It just wasn’t Petersen’s day and he was taken off in the 78th minute for Tim Kleindienst. Also brought on in the 71st minute was Vincenzo Grifo for Lucas Hufnagel who looked impressive in his second start of the season. Grifo quickly made his presence felt, getting a chance to make it 3-0 not long after coming on. He went one on one with the keeper and had him beat but he put it wide. He also took a free kick which just went over the bar. Sub Kleindienst also got a chance to make it 3-0 and to score his first goal for Freiburg. After Günter won the ball back he made a nice pass to Kleindienst who was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. In the 89th minute they made their final change with Julian Schuster coming on for goal scorer Amir Abrashi. He was not to be a last minute joker this time however like he was on MD1 against 1.FCN. Not that it mattered, another important three points all wrapped up. Taking advantage of the fact Bochum lost to Kaiserslautern and St Pauli drew with Paderborn it meant the top spot for Freiburg after dropping two points against Leipzig. Speaking of the devil Leipzig after drawing with Freiburg on Thursday night also drew 2-2 with struggling 1860 München.
Post-match interviews with Christian Streich and Amir Abrashi: