Luca Waldschmidt scored twice as Freiburg finished just outside of the European qualification places after a thumping 4-0 win at home to Schalke.
Having struggled for form since the turn of the year, with just one league win in the second half of the season, Schalke began here with renewed determination to end their campaign on a high note. They put their hosts under a good spell of pressure early on, as Weston McKennie fired over from the edge of the box before heading wide following a corner, while Can Bozdogan’s swerving shot from distance drew a good save from Mark Flekken in the Freiburg goal. There was a sense that a goal was coming, but when it did it was rather against the run of play as Waldschmidt’s brilliant finish from Christian Günter’s low left-wing cross gave the home side the lead. A daisy-cutter from Daniel Caligiuri that was comfortably saved by Flekken was the best Schalke could muster in response, while Freiburg added to the scoreline again before half-time when Jonathan Schmid stroked in a low effort from the edge of the box.
Any plans Schalke coach David Wagner had for a second-half turnaround were ripped up within seconds of the restart when Lucas Höler collected Vincenzo Grifo’s through ball to dink in Freiburg’s third over Alexander Nübel. Matters went from bad to worse for the away side shortly afterwards as a long ball forward landed at the feet of Waldschmidt, who squeezed in his second of the game with an outstanding finish from a tight angle. The flow of the game was interrupted somewhat by a flurry of substitutions, but the outcome was already beyond all doubt by that stage as Freiburg kept their visitors at arm's length until the final whistle.
- Freiburg goalkeeper Flekken made his first appearance of 2020 here.
- Schmid scored his first goal of the second half of the season and fifth overall this term. That's his best haul since 2012/13, when he scored 11.
- Günter provided two assists in the same match for the first time this season.
- Höler has scored three goals in his last four games, taking his total for the campaign to eight - twice as many as in 2018/19.
- Waldschmidt scored his first ever brace in the Bundesliga.
- The Germany international scored from open play for the first time since Matchday 7 (on 5 October 2019 against Borussia Dortmund).
Freiburg: Flekken - Schmid, Lienhart (Frantz 74'), Heintz, Günter (c) - Sallai, Keitel (Abrashi 66'), Höfler (Koch 74'), Grifo - Waldschmidt (Kwon 66'), Höler (Petersen 67')
Unused subs: Schwolow, Schlotterbeck, Borrello, Itter
Out: Haberer (ankle), Kübler (knee), Tempelmann (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich
Schalke: Nübel - Becker (Boujellab 46'), Kabak (Thiaw 46'), Oczipka (c), Miranda - Caligiuri, McKennie, Schöpf, Bozdogan - Kutucu (Raman 46'), Matondo
Unused subs: Schubert, Langer, Gregoritsch, Mercan, Hofmann
Out: Burgstaller (knee), Harit (knee), Kenny (suspended), Mascarell (groin), Nastasic (muscular), Stambouli (match fitness), Sane (knee), Serdar (knee), Todibo (ankle)
Coach: David Wagner