⚽ R. Sallai (66), ⚽ L. Höler (71)
By Ultan Corcoran @UltanCorcoran
Werder Bremen welcomed the challenge of Champions League-chasing Freiburg this afternoon. ‘Die Werderaner’ have been short on wins lately, and their chances of victory were dealt a blow when Niclas Fuellkrug was ruled out with a calf injury. Ole Werner looked to ex-Freiburg man Maxi Philipp who deputised for the absent Bundesliga top-scorer. After last weekend’s narrow loss to Bayern, Streich made three changes as Kuebler, Lienhart, and Sallai came into the starting line-up. Injuries to Gregoritsch and Gulde similarly blighting the Breisgau ranks.
|Lucas Höler.||Photo: SC Freiburg|
The visitors bossed the opening exchanges, as Ritsu Doan looked particularly menacing. Aside from the Japanese international it was a cagey quarter of the game. Marvin Ducksch’s speculative chip failed to threaten Flekken on 22 minutes. At the opposite end, a nasty Grifo free-kick was well dealt with by Pavlenka.
Approaching the break Ducksch took on another optimistic strike, this time from out wide on the left flank. Ultimately the ball would whistle past Flekken’s right post. The lack of chances apparent as the hosts missed the talismanic Fuellkrug, while Freiburg passing in the final third flattered to deceive.
It took just over a minute for the game to burst into life in the second-half as Bremen crafted a 1-0 lead. Grifo’s blocked shot led to a counterattack. Bittencourt unselfishly squared for Philipp who tapped home to the empty net of his former employers. Flekken’s spectacular save on the hour prevented a wonderful Philipp bicycle kick attempt from doubling the host’s lead.
In true Freiburg fashion, the Breisgau side bagged a quickfire double to make it 2-1. Roland Sallai the catalyst in both – the Hungarian drilling to then net in the 67th minute, followed by a delightful ball to pick out the head of Hoeler four minutes later. Bremen gaffer Ole Werner visibly distraught at the concession of two quick goals. Action would conclude in another narrow defeat for Bremen, but three crucial points for Streich’s charges.