In-form Freiburg earned their sixth win in their last eight games with a hard-fought 2-1 derby triumph at home to south-west rivals VfB Stuttgart.
Regional neighbours and right next to each other in the Bundesliga standings at kick-off, this fixture had the makings of a game not to be missed before a ball was even kicked. It did not disappoint with Stuttgart taking the lead as early as the seventh minute. Silas Wamangituka skipped past Jonathan Schmid on the left and laid the ball off to Daniel Didavi, whose powerful shot was well saved by Florian Müller, but the VfB attacker was first to the rebound, and prodded in from close range. Freiburg soon rallied, and equalised through the in-form Ermedin Demirovic, whose deflected shot from Wooyeong Jeong’s pass left Gregor Kobel wrong-footed. Demirovic hit the outside of a post at a corner before Jeong gave the hosts the lead with a composed finish after a mistake by Pascal Stenzel. The Black Forest side were on top for most of the half after that, but Stuttgart should have drawn level again when Janik Haberer felled Wamangituka in the box; Müller, however, saved well from Nicolas Gonzalez’s penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Stuttgart emerged for the second half determined to make amends, and Müller was forced to make two quickfire saves to powerful efforts from Gonzalo Castro and Orel Mangala. Gonzalez then had another opportunity to find the net after Didavi’s pass found him unmarked inside the box, but the Argentinian skewed his effort well wide. Konstantinos Mavropanos was next to be denied by the Freiburg goalkeeper, who produced a stunning point-blank save to keep out the VfB defender’s flick at the back post. Substitute Sasa Kalajdzic, who had already scored twice against Freiburg this term in the league and DFB Cup, headed wide and Erik Thommy hit the post as the visitors threw everything forward with the hosts barely able to make it out of their own half. Ultimately, however, Stuttgart could find no way through and Freiburg held on to take the derby spoils.
- Wamangituka scored in his third consecutive game for the first time ever. The attacker now has 10 Bundesliga goals this season, eight of which have come away from home.
- Demirovic found the net for the third time this term, all of which have come at home. The striker has three goals and five assists in his last eight league outings.
- Jeong now has two goals in 2020/21. His first was also at home, coming in a 2-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld on Matchday 11.
- Freiburg have lost just one of their last 10 home games - and even that was a narrow 2-1 reverse to champions Bayern Munich on Matchday 16.
- Wamangituka has had a hand in 13 goals this season, coming at a rate of one every 101 minutes. That record is brought into sharper focus considering the Congolese has started 15 of his 16 games from the wing.
- With 27 points, Freiburg are only two off their club-record after 18 games. Streich's men had 29 at the same stage last season.
Freiburg: Müller - Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gulde - Schmid (Abrashi 75'), Haberer (Keitel 60'), Höfler, Günter (c) - Jeong (Til 80'), Demirovic (Petersen 80'), Grifo (Höler 60')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Kübler, Heintz, Tempelmann
Out: Flekken (elbow), Kwon (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich
Stuttgart: Kobel - Stenzel (Mavropanos 46'), Anton (Klement 84'), Kempf - Silas, Mangala, Endo, Coulibaly (Thommy 84') - Castro (c) (Klimowicz 60'), Didavi (Kalajdzic 68') - Gonzalez
Unused subs: Bredlow, Karazor, Massimo, Ahamada
Out: Al Ghaddioui (pelvis), Awoudja (Achilles tendon), Mola (hip), Sosa (muscular)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo