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Freiburg has a chance of reaching the Europa League round of 16 against Lens

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Freiburg has a chance of reaching the Europa League round of 16 against Lens

Despite poor utilization of opportunities, SC Freiburg still has every chance of reaching the round of 16 of the Europa League. However, with the goalless draw in the first leg of the playoff against French first division club RC Lens, the Breisgauers could have put themselves in an even better starting position on Thursday evening. The shortcoming was the lack of efficiency. With a win in the second leg in front of home fans a week ago, coach Christian Streich’s team will advance to the next round.

“After the game, a win would definitely have been better, but the result is okay,” said Maximilian Eggestein, who led Freiburg onto the field as captain: “We want to do it now in front of our home crowd.”

Roland Sallai’s best opportunity for the Bundesliga club hit the crossbar (19th minute). After the break, the sports club was lucky that Massadio Haidara’s supposed goal was not recognized because it was offside (70′). After the 3-0 defeat at German runner-up Borussia Dortmund, coach Streich should still be satisfied that his players met the “absolute increase in performance” he had demanded in advance.

Especially on the offensive, Streich’s team struggled with the setbacks at Werder Bremen (1:3), at home against VfB Stuttgart (1:3) and recently at BVB. They hadn’t managed to score a goal in these duels.

But in the sixth place in Ligue 1, Freiburg showed a different face: wide awake in the duels and structured in the transition game. Ritsu Doan, who was in the starting line-up for the first time since returning from the Asian Championship, was denied by Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba (14th) and just five minutes later the crossbar was in Sallai’s way.

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Streich had to improvise due to injury problems – among other things, the two regular central defenders Philipp Lienhart and Matthias Ginter were not available – he ordered the trained midfielder Yannik Keitel into the center of the defensive back three, who did a calm job there.

Ralf Weitbrecht, Brussels Published/Updated: Recommendations: 4 Alexis Menuge, Lens Published/Updated: Recommendations: 1 Oliver Schmale Published/Updated: Recommendations: 2

The hosts, who competed with three wins under their belt, have presented themselves significantly stronger than Freiburg in the past few weeks. However, they hardly found any gaps over long stretches. Freiburg’s goalkeeper Noah Atubolu was not tested at all in the first half.

Even after the break, Freiburg initially had better opportunities: Sallai was unable to convert a Doan cross (49′), and Merlin Röhl, who was suspended in the league, made the wrong decision on a counterattack opportunity (54′). Eggestein was even closer. However, the substitute captain failed to get the ball past Samba from three meters away (59).

In the final phase, the home team increased the pace again and were almost rewarded for it. However, crosser Przemysław Frankowski was offside when Haidara’s header hit.

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