SC Freiburg celebrated a 4-0 win at home to FC Schalke 04 on matchday 29. Lucas Höler (7‘), Roland Sallai (22‘) and a brace from Christian Günter (50’, 74’) sealed the victory at the Schwarzwald-Stadion.
"I’m very happy today. We were dominant both on and off the ball," praised head coach Christian Streich at full time. "Our build up play had a lot of variety – everything worked today." His opposite number Dimitrios Grammozis cut a forlorn figure, meanwhile. "I’m not happy with the way we presented ourselves as a team today, even if SC Freiburg are a team you can lose to."
Streich made four changes to the team that suffered defeat in Bielefeld. Lucas Höler and Ermedin Demirovic returned from suspension, as did Nicolas Höfler, who missed out due to the birth of his child. Central defender Dominique Heintz completes the quartet. Manuel Gulde, Janik Haberer, Wooyeong Jeong and Yannik Keitel all dropped to the bench.
Dominant SCF take an early lead
Freiburg started with intent, Demirovic forcing a good save from Schalke’s Ralf Fährmann with a good volleyed effort (3’). The hosts, who lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, kept up the pressure and were soon rewarded with an early opener. Benjamin Stambouli misjudged a long ball, which fell kindly into the path of Baptiste Santamaria. The Frenchman whipped the ball in from the right to Höler, who was waiting at the far post to tap home his fourth goal of the season (7’).
The visitors improved after the early setback, but that didn’t stop SCF dominating the affair with fluid attacking football and solid defensive organisation.
Sallai doubles from the spot
A second goal wasn’t too far away. After Roland Sallai was elbowed in the box by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and with the help of VAR, a penalty kick was awarded to the host, which the Hungarian dispatched himself to double the lead (22’).
Schalke were able to restrict further opportunities as they sought to take the game higher up the pitch, but the balance of power between the two sides remained unchanged. SCF took a 2-0 lead into the break with six chances to Schalke’s null on the board.
Following two good first-half performances that weren’t built upon in the second half in recent matches, Freiburg were taking no chances today. Just five minutes after the restart, Sallai regained possession half-way into the Schalke half and fed the ball to Christian Günter, who charged towards the box and slotted into the far post with his left foot (50’). Four minutes later, Jonathan Schmid teased a precise free kick towards the top corner, but Fährmann saved Schalke from falling further behind.
Ultimately the visitors, for whom relegation looks more and more likely with each matchday, were helpless in their attempts to penetrate the SC defence. The final blow came 15 minutes before the end when captain Günter doubled his tally for the match and season. The 28-year-old was allowed to dribble 20 yards unchallenged before smashing the ball past Fährmann, helpless on this occasion.
The victory takes Freiburg to 40 points for the season, lifting the back up to ninth in the table. Since Wednesday’s match against Hertha BSC cannot take place, SCF are next in action on Saturday, away at TSG Hoffenheim.
Photo: Achim Keller