Japan international Ritsu Doan struck with 18 minutes to play to lead Freiburg to a 3-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen that takes Christian Streich's men top of the Bundesliga.
Freiburg were dealt an early blow at the BayArena as Roland Sallai was forced off with an eye injury inside the first 10 minutes and replaced by Wooyeong Jeong. Soon after play resumed, the hosts were in front; Kerem Demirbay swivelled smartly from close range to hook the ball past Mark Flekken and end the Dutch 'keeper's hopes of a fourth clean sheet of the season. The away team struggled to carve out any chances of note at the other end in a fairly sluggish first half from Christian Streich's men. Die Werkself happily sat on their one-goal lead, which they duly took into the break.
But it didn't last long. Freiburg pulled themselves level just three minutes into the second half as set-piece supremo Vincenzo Grifo's excellent corner was headed home from close range by Matthias Ginter. Another three minutes later, Freiburg were in front as Jeong pounced on a sloppy back pass from Odilon Kossounou and squared for Michael Gregoritsch to slide home at the far post. In search of a way back into the game, Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane called for Charles Aranguiz, Sardar Azmoun and new signing Callum Hudson-Odoi on the hour mark. It did just the trick, with Hudson-Odoi cutting in from the left and picking out Patrik Schick to head back across goal and into the corner to make it 2-2. It was a Freiburg sub who would clinch the victory, however, as Doan snuck in at the back post to tuck home a Nicolas Höfler header from Christian Günter's menacing corner. The victory means Freiburg move top of the Bundesliga table, where they edge Borussia Dortmund on goal difference and are a point better off than Bayern Munich and Union Berlin.
- Demirbay's opener was his 11th goal for Leverkusen and first of the campaign.
- It was Schick's first goal against Freiburg, coming at his fifth attempt.
- Freiburg failed to open the scoring in a Bundesliga match for the first time this season.
- Flekken conceded for the first time in 198 top-flight minutes of football.
- Ginter scored four times in 81 appearances during his first spell at Freiburg and he now has two from six matches since his return to the club.
- Fellow summer signing Gregoritsch has scored three goals in his first five Bundesliga appearances for Freiburg.
Watch: Ritsu Doan - "Not my typical goal"
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou, Tah (Hudson-Odoi 60'), Tapsoba - Frimpong, Andrich (Amiri 79'), Palacios (Azmoun 60'), Sinkgraven (Fosu-Mensah 79') - Demirbay (Aranguiz 60') - Diaby, Schick
Unused subs: Lomb, Paulinho, Hlozek
Out: Adli (collarbone), Bakker (suspended), Bellarabi (knee), Hincapie (suspended), Lunev (thigh), Wirtz (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane
Freiburg: Flekken - Ginter, Lienhart, Gulde (Doan 46') - Sildillia, Keitel (Eggestein 46'), Höfler, Günter (c) - Sallai (Jeong 9'), Gregoritsch (Schlotterbeck 80'), Grifo (Petersen 80')
Unused subs: Atubolu, Siquet, Schmid, Weißhaupt
Out: Ezekwem (muscular), Höler (metatarsal), Kübler (thigh), Schade (abdominal)
Coach: Christian Streich
Watch: Callum Hudson-Odoi reflects on his Bundesliga debut
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