Spectacular draw against Frankfurt

First Team

SC Freiburg fought back on three occasions to snatch a 3-3 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Ritsu Doan, Vincenzo Grifo and Michael Gregoritsch on the scoresheet for the hosts.

Just three days on from their last competitive match at Lens, Freiburg fielded an almost unchanged starting XI to take on Eintracht Frankfurt at the Europa-Park-Stadion, with Vincenzo Grifo replacing the suspended Merlin Röhl following the latter’s sending-off against VfB Stuttgart. As has become the norm of late, the game was interrupted by protests against the DFL, first after just one minute and again early in the second half. The early stages would be interrupted further as Frankfurt’s Sasa Kalajdzic went down innocuously with a knee injury and received treatment, eventually being substituted.

Football was finally played after 11 minutes, though the opening exchanges took place largely in the middle third of the pitch, with neither defence conceding any gilt-edged chances. SC had a sight of the Frankfurt goal on 17 minutes, but Ritsu Doan lost out in an aerial battle with Willian Pacho. The pluckiness demanded by Maximilian Eggestein was certainly on show. Freiburg were looking sharp, winning most of their individual battles and in the ascendancy, but could not carve out any goalscoring opportunities in the first 25 minutes.

Freiburg concede from nowhere

In the 27th minute, the game was turned on its head. Frankfurt had not yet produced anything of note, but Omar Marmoush seized on an error by Yannik Keitel to put Eintracht ahead against the run of play. Up to that point, the visitors had been content to pass the ball amongst themselves with no real urgency. The opening goal changed the dynamic of the match, though, and Freiburg’s response was immediate, scoring the equaliser just three minutes later. SGE ‘keeper Kevin Trapp could only parry Roland Sallai’s effort, and Doan reacted quickest to level the scores (30’). Doan himself had started the move with a chipped ball to Eggestein, whose cross found Sallai – a beautifully executed goal.

Another goal conceded, another reaction

While Freiburg’s attack was firing on all cylinders, the defence made it far too easy for the visitors. Just five minutes had passed since the equaliser before Noah Atubolu was again picking the ball out of his own net, with Ansgar Knauff finishing off a counter-attack to put his side 2-1 up (35’). Doan’s quick feet and ball control provided a strong source of attacking pressure down the right flank, while Keitel sought to play his teammates in behind with a slew of searching long balls. Freiburg won several corners which were dealt with fairly easily by their opponents, but came close to finding the leveller on 44 minutes as a miscued shot from Eggestein almost found its way to Keitel.

Freiburg’s continued tenacity was rewarded on the stroke of half-time, as Höler was brought down in the Frankfurt box and Grifo converted from the spot (45+5’).

Protests cause another delay

A shower of detritus from the stands caused the second half to be paused after just six minutes, with referee Tobias Stieler sending both teams back to the dressing rooms and making it clear that any further interruptions would result in the match being abandoned. There would be no more protests from the terraces, and when play resumed, Freiburg continued to push forward. Trapp saved comfortably from a Höler header, while Knauff’s volley at the other end was dealt with by Atubolu. While the visitors looked to play on the break, Freiburg applied pressure, but found themselves thwarted both by the opposition defence and by their own mistakes. In the 71st minute, Doan ran the ball out of play in the Frankfurt half, and a quickly taken throw-in lead to a counter-attack which ended with Knauff finishing clinically to make it 3-2.

Level for the third time

SC reacted once more, making three substitutions – one of whom, Michael Gregoritsch, came close to finding the net in the 80th minute, but was unable to generate enough power to trouble Trapp. Frankfurt defended well, but when the ball flew into the box in the 89th minute, Gregoritsch made amends for his earlier spurned opportunity, rising highest to head home. Freiburg’s third equaliser of the game set up a tense finish, and the noise levels around the stadium ramped up as the match entered ten minutes of stoppage time. “Everyone really wanted to score the winning goal,” said SGE head coach Dino Toppmöller after the full-time whistle.

SC had to be alert to deal with two Frankfurt attacks, while Trapp also had work to do in the Eintracht goal after Florent Muslija spotted him off his line and attempted an audacious long-range lob. Gregoritsch was denied a winner seconds later as a Frankfurt defender cleared his effort from eight yards off the line. “With a bit of luck, we might well have won today,” said Grifo following the draw. “But we’re happy with the point. We came from behind three times – that’s what sets us apart.” Streich was also satisfied with the team’s performance: “We did everything we could out there. We came back every time we went a goal down, and we even had a chance to win at the end. It was pleasing that everyone gave their all, including the substitutes.”

Match statistics

SC Freiburg starting XI: Atubolu - Gulde, Keitel (Sildillia 77’), Kübler - Makengo (Weißhaupt 77’), Eggestein, Höfler, Doan - Grifo (Msulija 82’), Sallai (Philipp 88’), Höler (Gregoritsch 77’)   
Headcoach: Christian Streich   
Bench: Müller, Szalai, Weißhaupt, Adamu, Muslija, Sildillia, Philipp, Günter, Gregoritsch       
Eintracht Frankfurt starting XI: Trapp - Tuta, Hasebe, Pacho - Buta, Skhiri, M. Götze (Rode 86’), Max (Nkoujou 90+3’) – Chaibi (Ekitiké 90+3’), Kalajdzic (Knauf 11’), Marmoush (Ebimbe 86’)   
Head coach: Dino Toppmöller   
Bench: Grahl, Smolcic, Ekitiké, Rode, Chandler, van de Beek, Ebimbe, Nkounkou, Knauff       
Goals: 0-1 Marmoush (27’), 1-1 Doan (30’), 1-2 Knauff (35’), 2-2 Grifo (P, 45+5’), 2-3 Knauff (72’), 3-3 Gregoritsch (89’)   
Cards: -  
Referee: Tobias Stieler   
Attendance: 34,700 


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