Hard-fought win away in Mainz

First Team

Michael Gregoritsch was the match-winner for SC Freiburg in a narrow 1-0 victory away at 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday evening.

The hosts recorded the first chance of the night, as Ludovic Ajorque was able to get off a free header following a cross from Marco Richter (4’). Only a strong save from Noah Atubolu denied Mainz an early opener. Richter then took aim himself shortly after, but his volley went just wide (11’). The hosts continued to rack up chances, with Ajorque missing from close range after a pass from Silvan Widmer and Atubolu denying Leandro Barreiro just seconds later (17’).

Christian Streich and his coaching staff elected to make two changes to the starting line-up following the 5-0 home win against Olympiacos in mid-week. Noah Weißhaupt started on the left of midfield in place of Vincenzo Grifo and Merlin Röhl replaced Lucas Höler to partner with Gregoritsch in attack.

Freiburg had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first big chance of the night, with Ritsu Doan attempting a shot from 17 metres out after a stunning solo run. Former Freiburg goalkeeper Daniel Batz, who was deputising for the injured Robin Zentner, was able to push the ball out for a corner.

Ginter forced off early on

Freiburg’s Chicco Höfler needed treatment in the 16th minute after a collision with Barreiro in the 16th minute, but was able to play on wearing a bandage on his head. The visitors were then forced to make an early change as Matthias Ginter, who had been feeling nauseous, was unable to continue. He was replaced by Manuel Guide in the 23rd minute.

Mid-way through the first half, the game had developed into an evenly-match affair, with Streich commenting afterwards, “Mainz started with a lot of power and variability. We managed to withstand this and created two great chances.”

First, a long ball from Kiliann Sildillia found its way to Gregoritsch, who hit the post with a shot from 13 metres out (27’). The striker would go close once more shortly before the break, but was unable to direct his header on target after beating Batz to the ball in the five-yard box (45’+1). At the other end, Atubolu was able to ensure the teams heading into the interval still deadlocked with a brilliant save to deny a header from Sepp van den Berg (45’+6).

Gregoritsch bags the winning goal

With temperatures hovering around 0C, the 30,300 fans in attendance witnessed a lively start to the second half. Maximilian Eggestein attempted a first-time effort after a flicked on header from Gregoritsch, but had to watch as his shot flew wide of the target (51’). Ajorque then missed for the hosts, failing to convert a well-worked ball from Widmer (52’). Nine minutes later, van den Berg would also be unable to finish his chance from close range.

Streich made another change in the 59th minute, bringing on Höler for Weißhaupt. 10 minutes later, the substitute would be involved in helping his side take the lead. He flicked on a throw-in from Sildillia to Gregoritsch, as the striker - who had netted a hat-trick against Olympiacos on Thursday - coolly slotted home from 13 metres out, leaving Batz with no chance (69’).

“Despite feeling a bit drained, we still left it all out on the pitch. Gregerl then scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season. It’s an extremely important win for us, in order to keep us from slipping down the table,” Streich said after the game.

Substitutes Roland Sallai and Junior Adamu were brought on late in order to help see the result through. Adamu even had a chance to double SCF’s lead in injury time, but saw his effort saved by Batz (90’+2). Mainz fought hard to prevent their opponents from finding the back of the net again, and also managed to come to chances of their own. Höfler was forced to clear the ball off the line after a corner from Barkok found its way into the box (90’+3). SC currently have a solid 18 points from the first 13 matches this season ahead of next Saturday’s trip to face VfL Wolfsburg (15:30 CET).

Photo: Achim Keller

Match statistics

1. FSV Mainz 05 starting XI: Batz - Widmer (86', da Costa), van den Berg, Caci, Mwene - Krauß (86', Kohr), Barreiro - Gruda (76', Barkok), Lee (76', Onisiwo), Richter (66', Burkardt) - Ajorque 
Head coach: Jan Siewert 
Subs: Rieß, Bell, Papela, Mamutovic 
SC Freiburg starting XI: Atubolu - Sildillia, Ginter (23', Gulde), Lienhart, Makengo - Eggestein, Höfler - Doan (84', Sallai), Röhl, Weißhaupt (59', Höler) - Gregoritsch (84', Adamu) 
Head coach: Christian Streich 
Subs: Müller, Grifo, Rüdlin 
Goals: 0-1 Gregoritsch (69') 
Yellow cards: Barreiro - Sallai 
Red cards: / 
Referee: Tobias Stieler 
Spectators: 30,300 


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