Michael Gregoritsch brace gives Freiburg big win over Schalke
Michael Gregoritsch scored twice and set up a third for his team as hosts Freiburg kept their top-four hopes alive with a 4-0 win over Schalke that leaves the visitors in the bottom-three.
Freiburg 4-0 Schalke
Goals: 1-0 Gregoritsch (assist: Doan) 7', 2-0 Gregoritsch (assist: Kübler) 35', 3-0 Höler (assist: Gregoritsch) 52', 4-0 Ginter (assist: Röhl) 83'
With Freiburg able to climb back into the top-four ahead of RB Leipzig and Union Berlin fixtures later the same day, and Schalke looking to climb out of the bottom-three, there was plenty riding on Sunday's fixture at the Europa-Park Stadion. It was the high-flying hosts who raced out the traps, with Alexander Schwolow forced into a fine double save even before Freriburg took a seventh-minute lead. Gregoritsch was the man to get the better of Schwolow, placing home on his left foot after being expertly freed by Ritsu Doan's through ball. Doan was pulling the strings for Christian Streich's side and he nearly had a second assist of the game but Vincenzo Grifo's effort from the Japan international's pass rebounded off the post to safety moments later. Freiburg did have a second 10 minutes before the break, Gregoritsch expertly diverting Lukas Kübler's header home with a deft header from the edge of the box.
Freiburg were soon 3-0 to the good as Lucas Höler squeezed an effort past Schwolow just seven minutes after the restart, all but condemning Schalke to a third defeat in four matches. Gregoritsch went close to completing his hat-trick with just under half an hour to play, but Schwolow this time parried the Austrian's close range effort to safety. Matthias Ginter eventually added a fourth to wrap up a comprehensive Freiburg win. This defeat means Thomas Reis' team remain second from bottom and three points from safety with five games to play. As for Streich's men, they moved third prior to the aforementioned Leipzig and Union fixtures later in the day and they are well placed to secure European football once more next season.
- Gregoritsch scored his ninth and 10th league goals of the season and now has 13 in all competitions since joining Freiburg in the summer.
- Asano's assist for the opener was his fourth Bundesliga provision of the campaign. Kübler, meanwhile, provided his first top-flight assist of the season.
- This was Schalke's first ever visit to the Europa-Park Stadion.
- Moritz Jenz suffered a Bundesliga defeat for the first time in his 10th appearance in Germany's top-tier.
- Schalke have only won one of their last 42 Bundesliga games on the road. They have three more away fixtures this season.
- Die Breisgauer have won their last four meetings with Schalke to nil. They've recorded more wins (19) and victories without conceding (17) against Die Knappen than any Bundesliga team they've faced.
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Freiburg: Flekken - Kübler, Ginter, Lienhart, Günter (c) - Keitel, Höfler (Wagner 86') - Doan (Weißhaupt 73'), Höler (Röhl 79'), Grifo (Jeong 80') - Gregoritsch (Petersen 73')
Unused subs: Atubolu, Sildillia, Schmidt, Schmid
Out: Eggestein (suspended), Gulde (thigh), Kyereh (cruciate ligament), Sallai (suspended)
Coach: Christian Streich
Schalke: Schwolow - Matriciani (Aydin 61'), Jenz (Greiml 46'), Kaminski, Uronen (Ouwejan 61') - Kral, Latza (c) - Karaman, Drexler (Frey 46'), Bülter (Zalazar 79') - Terodde
Unused subs: Langer, van den Berg, Tauer, Mohr
Out: Balanta (knee), Brunner (shoulder), Fährmann (thigh), Heekeren (cruciate ligament), Krauß (suspended), Kozuki (ankle), Polter (knee), Skarke (ankle), Yoshida (muscular)
Coach: Thomas Reis
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