Freiburg ended a three-match winless run as they beat Union Berlin 3-1 thanks to goals from Roland Sallai, Christian Günter and Robin Koch, with the visitors also reduced to 10 men late in the day.
Freiburg 3-1 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Sallai (64’), 2-0 Günter (55’), 2-1 Andersson (62’), 3-1 Koch (81')
Red card: Friedrich (90'+2)
Union began the day three points behind their hosts knowing that a win by two goals would see them leapfrog Freiburg into the top half of the table. Christopher Lenz curled a free-kick over the bar and Christian Gentner drew a good low save from Alexander Schwolow from a counter-attack as the Berliners carved out the early chances. It was at corners where Freiburg posed their greatest threat. Nils Petersen twice had efforts blocked from deliveries from the right before Vincenzo Grifo, making his 100th Bundesliga appearance, curled in a corner from the left that Sallai turned home at the near post to give the Black Forest side a half-time lead.
Günter doubled the advantage early in the second half with a thunderous effort from just inside the penalty area, beating Rafal Gikiewicz at his near post, but Union then gave the hosts a taste of their own set-piece medicine. Sebastian Andersson did what he does best and netted his sixth headed goal of the season to turn home Christopher Trimmel’s corner. Sallai thought he’d restored the two-goal lead with his second of the game only moments later, but it was ruled out for offside. Germany international Koch, though, timed his run perfectly to head a free-kick under Gikiewicz for the third goal. However, Freiburg did suffer a setback with the loss of Günter to a thigh injury - the left-back had previously played every minute of the campaign. Union would finish the game with 10 men when Marvin Friedrich was shown a second yellow for pulling back Petersen in injury time.
- Sallai’s goal was his first in the Bundesliga since 10 November 2018 and a 3-1 loss at home to Mainz.
- The Hungarian’s strike was also Freiburg’s 300th Bundesliga goal under Christian Streich.
- Freiburg have now scored 13 goals from set pieces this season. Günter’s goal was their first from open play since Matchday 18’s 2-1 win over Mainz.
- Andersson scored his 11th goal of the season and the sixth with his head – a league high.
- Trimmel delivered his seventh assist from a corner this season – another league high.
- Freiburg defender Nico Schlotterbeck is the younger brother of Union's Keven. Their uncle, Niels, was also a professional footballer.
Freiburg: Schwolow - Gulde (Itter 86'), Koch, Heintz - Schmid, Lienhart, Höfler, Günter (c) (N. Schlotterbeck 78’) – Sallai (Höler 65’), Petersen, Grifo
Unused subs: Flekken, Waldschmidt, Ravet, Borrello, Tempelmann, Keitel
Out: Abrashi (muscular), Frantz (ill), Kübler (knee), Kwon (hamstring)
Coach: Christian Streich
Union: Gikiewicz - Friedrich, K. Schlotterbeck, Subotic (Becker 83') - Trimmel (c), Gentner, Andrich, Lenz – Malli (Ingvartsen 72’), Bülter (Polter 59’) – Andersson
Unused subs: Nicolas, Ryerson, Ujah, Prömel, Kroos, Parensen
Out: Gogia (match fitness), Mees (thigh), Reichel (ill), Schmiedebach (muscular)
Coach: Urs Fischer