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Freiburg wins against West Ham in the Europa League

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Freiburg wins against West Ham in the Europa League

The dream of the first European quarter-finals is alive: SC Freiburg is reaching for a historic milestone in the Europa League thanks to Michael Gregoritsch. Coach Christian Streich’s team won the first leg of the round of 16 against West Ham United 1-0 (0-0) and could reach the last eight internationally for the first time in the club’s history.

“It was really important. It was a really good game from the whole team, we were in a great mood,” said Gregoritsch on RTL. Breisgauer, who were superior in the first half, underlined their improved form after winning the point against Bayern, and substitute Gregoritsch (81′) shot out a narrow lead. For Freiburg’s “Mr. European Cup” it was the fifth goal in the current competition.

Both teams had already met in the group phase. West Ham won 2-1 in Freiburg in October and 2-0 at home in mid-December. The second leg in London is scheduled for March 14th. In between, the sports club, which has not won in six league games, will be visiting VfL Bochum on Sunday (3:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on DAZN).

Wide awake and consistently defending forward, the home team hardly allowed anything to happen in the first half. Defender Matthias Ginter had explicitly warned about the enthusiasm of the seventh-placed team in the Premier League. “This is a top team, especially offensively. It will be important that we defend well and compactly,” said the national player.

However, there was no sign of key player Lucas Paquetá or the dangerous Jarrod Bowen, who scored three goals in United’s last home game, for long stretches. Freiburg controlled the encounter and had almost 80 percent possession of the ball in the opening quarter of an hour – the result alone left a lot to be desired.

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Strengthened by the 2-2 draw with FC Bayern, the Breisgauer team acted confidently. Lucas Höler’s finish defused Lukasz Fabianski – the best chance of the game after half an hour. Shortly before, West Ham coach David Moyes had turned away from the game in annoyance after another failed build-up by his team.

The 60-year-old’s expression continued to darken even after the game restarted. Because the sports club continued to apply pressure and achieved their first dangerous goal thanks to an acrobatic side kick from Roland Sallai (48′). But the guests also appeared more determined now. Former Stuttgart defender Konstantinos Mavropanos headed just wide after SC keeper Noah Atubolu misjudged a corner (53′). Paquetá’s header was also inaccurate (62′), and Bowen was denied by Atubolu (65′).

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Streich reacted and brought in Gregoritsch, the decisive goalscorer of the playoff second leg against RC Lens. That paid off. The Austrian was on the pitch for just eleven minutes before he struck again. In the final seconds of stoppage time, Freiburg had to worry – but after minutes of checking and viewing the video recordings, the referee did not give the guests a hand penalty.

“If it goes on for so long, you think that it can’t be that clear. We were lucky today, we’ll happily accept that,” said Gregoritsch.

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