Freiburg captain Christian Günter scored a first career brace in a 4-0 win at home to Schalke that leaves the league's bottom club just one defeat away from relegation.
Freiburg came into the game following back-to-back defeats against Borussia Mönchengladbach and Arminia Bielefeld, but sensed a chance to bounce back at home to the league’s bottom side. Ermedin Demirovic fired off the first warning sign in just the third minute, with a stunning volley from the edge of the box that Ralf Fährmann did well to save, but it was not long before the hosts did get their goal. Baptiste Santamaria found space down the right wing and his low, teasing cross to the back post was prodded over the line by Lucas Höler. Freiburg remained on top and Roland Sallai gave them the extra cushion their dominance deserved, converting from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Sallai then squandered a close-range volley from Günter’s cross, but the Black Forest side were good value for their lead at the half-time break.
Schalke won for just the second time this season against Augsburg last week, but they carried very little threat going forward here – the shot count at full-time was 13-4 in Freiburg’s favour - and the outcome of the game was put beyond all doubt in the 50th minute. Günter robbed Suat Serdar of the ball in midfield, before striding forward and drilling a precise shot into the bottom corner. Jonathan Schmid very nearly added to the scoreline shortly afterwards with a vicious free-kick from 25 yards out, but Fährmann was alert to tip it over the bar. Günter grabbed another goal in the closing stages, smashing in his second long-range goal of the day to seal a fully deserved win. Schalke, with just 13 points on the board from 29 games, will be relegated on Tuesday if they lose their Matchday 30 encounter away to Bielefeld.
- Sallai is now Freiburg's top scorer this season with eight goals, having converted the first penalty he has taken in the Bundesliga.
- Höler netted his fourth goal of 2020/21, three of which have come since the turn of the year. He was also on target in a 4-0 win at home to Schalke last term.
- The Black Forest club have scored nine times in the opening quarter of an hour of their games, a figure bettered only by Union Berlin.
- Günter's overall Bundesliga goal tally now stands at six, all scored with his left foot. It was his first career brace, and the first time he has scored from outside the box.
- Die Breisgauer have recorded more Bundesliga wins over Die Knappen than any club they have faced (17), and are unbeaten in their last six meetings.
- Schalke have still won just two of their last 45 Bundesliga matches, and are winless in their last 25 on the road.
Freiburg: Müller - Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Heintz - Schmid (Kübler 79'), Santamaria (Keitel 60'), Höfler, Günter (c) - Sallai (Kwon 77'), Demirovic (Petersen 77'), Höler (Jeong 77')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Haberer, Grifo
Coach: Christian Streich
Schalke: Fährmann - Becker (Sane 68'), Stambouli, Thiaw - Aydin, Mascarell, Bozdogan (Uth 56'), Kolasinac (c) - Serdar (Mustafi 56') - Huntelaar (Paciencia 86'), Harit (Hoppe 86')
Unused subs: Rönnow, William, Oczipka, Calhanoglu
Out: Bentaleb (groin), Boujellab (ankle), Ludewig (foot), Mendyl (ankle), Mercan (knee), Nastasic (calf), Raman (back), Skrzybski (knee)
Coach: Dimitrios Grammozis