Gregoritsch is lucky: 0:2 becomes 3:2 – SC Freiburg storms into the EL round of 16

Gregoritsch is lucky
0:2 becomes 3:2 – SC Freiburg storms into the EL round of 16

First they save themselves into extra time, then Michael Gregoritsch makes the victory perfect: SC Freiburg is in the round of 16 of the Europa League. Christian Streich’s team was already 0-2 behind against RC Lens before their comeback ended in luck.

In Freiburg’s constant rain, the SC players jumped on the pitch for joy, coach Christian Streich hugged match winner Michael Gregoritsch. Thanks to great morale and a furious comeback, the Breisgauer team finally reached the round of 16 of the Europa League. The Baden Bundesliga team won the thrilling playoff second leg against RC Lens after being 2-0 down with 3-2 (2-2, 0-2) after extra time.

It was an enormous feat of energy. It was only in stoppage time that Roland Sallai (90.+2) saved Freiburg with his equalizing goal in extra time. Then Gregoritsch struck and completely turned the game around (99th). It didn’t look like that at all at halftime. David Pereira da Costa after a mistake by SC goalkeeper Noah Atubolu (28th minute) and Elye Wahi (45th + 2) gave the French a seemingly secure 2-0 lead in front of 34,700 spectators. The strong Sallai (67th) initiated the comeback. In the first leg, both teams played a goalless draw a week ago.

“The whole stadium was crazy. They pushed us forward. We played a great second half,” said Freiburg’s Matthias Ginter on RTL and was already looking forward to the round of 16 draw, where the opponent could also be Liverpool FC. “But there are still two Bundesliga games in between.” Goalscorer Gregoritsch said: “It’s unbelievable how often you get to experience something like that. This is a game for eternity.”

The atmosphere in the stands was great, but there wasn’t a spectacle on the pitch until late. The Hungarian Sallai was the most noticeable Freiburg player in a game that mostly took place between, but not in, the penalty areas in the first 25 minutes.

Lens exploits mistakes

During the guests’ best phase to date, their leadership also fell – favored by Atubolus Schnitzer. When he received a high cross, the SC keeper seemed undecided whether he should catch the ball or punch it. He then maneuvered it forward just a few meters – Pereira da Costa hit it flat into the net.

The Freiburgers tried to respond quickly and were unlucky. A free kick from the right half of the field flipped through the French penalty area and only landed on the post thanks to a reaction from the attentive RC goalkeeper Brice Samba (33′).

Immediately before the break, Lens took advantage of another individual mistake in Freiburg’s defense. This time defender Manuel Gulde didn’t look good in the duel with Wahi. The striker moved over to the right into the box and lobbed past Atubolu to make it 0-2. “We can’t get any flow into our game. That’s a problem,” analyzed SC sports director Klemens Hartenbach on RTL after the first half. “We can’t put pressure on them.”

Gregoritsch sends fans into ecstasy

Coach Christian Streich tried to change that by bringing Gregoritsch up front and Noah Weisshaupt on the left. It worked. The Breisgauers now became significantly more dangerous. Merlin Röhl fell in the penalty area but didn’t get a penalty.

Then Sallai finally brought the SC back into the game in the pouring rain. A shot from the 26-year-old was deflected and landed in the goal. Keeper Samba was powerless, but was there again several times afterwards. However, the pressure from the onrushing hosts became greater and greater. In stoppage time they were rewarded with the equalizer – again from a deflected shot from Sallai. In extra time, Gregoritsch scored from the turn to make it 3-2 – and sent the Freiburg fans into ecstasy.

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