In the first match between Leipzig and Freiburg since the DFB-Pokal final, Christopher Nkunku put on another show, as Leipzig’s offensive talent overwhelmed Freiburg in their 3-1 victory.
|Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Having not lost in their last 11 competitive games, Leipzig were hoping to continue their excellent form under new coach Marco Rose. They did just that and moved into the European places with three points against Freiburg on Wednesday night.
Freiburg interestingly started a back three with right-backs Kiliann Sildillia and Lukas Kübler in the lineup, putting Vincenzo Grifo on the bench. Abdou Diallo was supposed to start for the Red Bull club, but he picked up a knock in warm-ups and Josko Gvardiol was forced to start.
Leipzig were on the front foot early and often, with Freiburg failing to create any decent chances on goal. At the quarter hour mark, in-form Christopher Nkunku nearly earned Leipzig an early lead, but his deft chip from a quick free-kick hit the post.
Shortly thereafter, Gvardiol’s face was bloodied after colliding with teammate Willi Orban and he was subbed off for Benjamin Henrichs. Several Freiburg attackers received yellow cards late in the first half, as the Bresigau club were lucky to be tied heading into halftime.
After several superb Mark Flekken saves to begin the second period, Leipzig earned a well-deserved goal through Mohamed Simakan on a corner in the 55th minute. Seconds later, Nkunku continued his incredible season by converting Dominik Szoboszlai’s pass to make it 2-0.
In the 66th minute, Kübler pulled one back with a thunderous strike to give the club from the Black Forest a bit of hope. But, Leipzig were controversially given a penalty when Nkunku went down in the box and Emil Forsberg scored the 78th minute spot-kick to wrap things up.
5th-place Leipzig travel to Werder Bremen for their last match before the World Cup break, while 3rd-place Freiburg return home to play Union Berlin.
In the other 20:30 kickoffs, Frankfurt were up 3-0 against Hoffenheim with first-half goals from Djibril Sow, Randal Kolo Muani and Junior Dina Ebimbe. But, Hoffenheim roared back with Christoph Baumgartner and Ozan Kabak chipping in.
In the end, Jesper Lindstrøm’s goal in the 56th minute comforted Oliver Glasner’s side and with the victory, Eintracht now move into the top four.
Simon Terodde’s first-half goal proved to be the difference for desperate Schalke, who earned their first win of the Thomas Reis era to please their home supporters against Mainz. After four early scores between Union Berlin and Augsburg (including a brace from Florian Niederlechner), the capital club settled for a disappointing draw at home.