Freiburg dominated for long periods against West Ham on Thursday, but were ultimately beaten by a pair of headers, scored by Lucas Paquetá and Nayef Aguerd.
Freiburg 1-2 West Ham
Goals: 0-1 Paquetá 8' (assist: Bowen), 1-1 Sallai 49', 1-2 Aguerd 66' (assist: Ward-Prowse)
Freiburg bounced into the game in fine form, undefeated in three since losing 4-2 to Borussia Dortmund, and having beaten Olympiacos 3-2 in their opening Group A fixture, but the match was less than 10 minutes old when they fell behind. Jarrod Bowen found space out wide to cross and Paquetá's downward header beat Noah Atubolu from close range. Paquetá had the ball in the Freiburg net again soon after, but this time his effort was ruled out for offside. Lucas Höler carved out Freiburg's best chance on the half hour when he wriggled free before trying to slip Junior Adamu through, but West Ham got the ball clear. Paquetá had another shot straight into Atubolu's gloves and it was 1-0 at the break.
Freiburg were back on level terms minutes after the restart, however. Substiute Ritsu Doan fed a fine pass into Roland Sallai and he and Höler forced a pair of quick-fire saves from Łukasz Fabiański before the second bounced out to Sallai, who fired home. The Hungarian then blasted another effort straight at Fabiański before Höler blazed over with the goal at his mercy after Kiliann Sildillia had hit the woodwork. Bowen did well to force a chance for himself at the other end, but Atubolu was well-positioned to save. It was against the run of play, then, when Aguerd headed home James Ward-Prowse's corner for what proved to be the winner. Sallai and Paquetá both pulled late shots wide and it ended 2-1.
- Paquetá's header was the first time in 204 minutes of football that Atubolu had conceded.
- Sallai's goal was his second in the Europa League this season and fourth in all competitions.
- Christian Streich's side were unbeaten in Europa League group games since a 2-0 loss at home to Sevilla back in December 2013 (W5, D2).
- This was the first competitive meeting between Freiburg and West Ham.
- Indeed, it was Freiburg's first encounter with an English club in UEFA competition - the 12th different nation they have faced.
- West Ham had lost on their previous three trips to Germany - 3-1 at Borussia Dortmund in April 1966 and then at Eintracht Frankfurt in March 1979 (2-1) and May 2022 (1-0).
Freiburg: Atubolu - Sildillia, Ginter, Lienhart - Sallai, Eggestein (Röhl 76'), Höfler, Kübler (Weißhaupt 76') - Adamu (Doan 46'), Höler (Philipp 76'), Grifo (c) (Breunig 86')
Unused subs: Müller, Uphoff, Schmidt, Gulde, Makengo, Rüdlin
Out: Gregoritsch (calf), Günter (broken arm), Kyereh (knee),
Coach: Christian Streich
West Ham: Fabiański (c) - Coufal, Mavropanos, Aguerd, Kehrer (Emerson 71') - Ward-Prowse (Ings 90'), Álvarez - Kudus (Benrahma 80'), Bowen, Fornals (Souček 71') - Paquetá (Mubama 90')
Unused subs: Aréola, Anang, Zouma, Cornet, Ogbonna, Coventry
Out: Cresswell (suspended)
Coach: David Moyes
As it happened
Full time! Freiburg 1-2 West Ham
Two headers prove Freiburg's undoing against West Ham. They face Serbia's Topola next, on 26 October. A win there should put them in a strong position to advance.
Time added on
Bowen volleys wide as we head into the first of four added minutes...
Group A latest
With Olympiacos being held away to Bačka Topola, Freiburg are currently second in the standings, three points behind West Ham and two clear of third and fourth.
Breunig, a 23-year-old striker, makes his second appearance for the Freiburg first team. He's scored twice in seven games for the reserves so far this season.
Freiburg have not heeded the countless warnings as Mavropanos gets up to a corner and heads wide. Balls into the box have been their kryptonite today.
Sallai has a go!
He's been Freiburg's most likely attacking outlet throughout, and that's not far away from Sallai, who jinks forward and fires wide of the far post.
Pace, youth and fresh legs - Streich knows his team need a spark from somewhere...
That goal has really knocked Freiburg's confidence. Can they find a second wind?
West Ham back in front
Oh, dear! Atubolu comes off his line in attempt to punch clear Ward-Prowse's corner. He misses the ball, allowing Nayef Aguerd to head home. Hammer blow for Streich's men, who's started the second half so well.
It's really opening up now as Bowen weaves goalwards, before firing off a shot that has Atubolu at full stretch.
Höler chance goes begging!
Somehow Freiburg are not in front. Sildillia sends a looping header against the crossbar. It falls in front of goal for Höler, who balloons over. He will not want to see that again on the reply. Golden chance not taken!
The Hungarian's gone up a gear as he warms the palms of Fabiański. Perfect start to the second half from Freiburg - can they capitalise?
Freiburg are level!
There's the impact from Doan, who feeds Sallai in the box. Fabiański blocks the initial effort and Kübler's follow-up, but it's third time lucky for Sallai. Game on!
And it's like-for-like in the Freiburg attack - can Doan turn the tide for the hosts?
Half time! Freiburg 0-1 West HamWard-Prowse splits the Freiburg defence with a pass into the feet of Paquetá, who places his shot too close to Atubolu. That could have been a lot worse for Freiburg. As things stand, though, there's only one goal in this.
The fourth official's electronic board indicates three additional minutes at the end of the first half.
Freiburg back at the races
Freiburg were punished for a nervy start, but have grown into this. A goal before the break would go down very nicely indeed!
Sallai means business as he runs at Kehrer, drawing the foul. Grifo sends over the free-kick, but West Ham get it clear.
Höler finds Sallai, who pings in a cross, but Fabiański makes the claim. The fans applaud the idea.
Turning the screw
Good spell for Freiburg, this. They're seeing more of the ball and moving it well in West Ham territory. Höler's movement, in particular, has the visitors worried.
Höler wriggles free on the edge of the West Ham area. He tries to feed Adamu to his right, but it's cut out. Much more positive from Freiburg!
Much better from Atubolu, who confidently claims Fornals' probing cross. The Germany U21 stopper will be keen to put that earlier gaffe behind him.
The Freiburg midfielder, who is currently serving a three-match ban in the Bundesliga, is shown the first yellow card of the contest for a foul on the lively Kudus.
Mavropanos shows no ill-effects of that earlier clash as he gets up to head a Ward-Prowse free-kick wide. The Greek scored six goals in 80 Bundesliga games for Stuttgart - he is a threat in those situations.
Ex-Stuttgart defender Mavropanos is down after a collision with a teammate, but is OK to continue after a spot of treatment.
Fornals is allowed to make in-roads in the final third. He finds Paquetá, who arrows in from a tight angle, but the VAR intervenes and it's ruled out for offside.
Freiburg are living dangerously as Kudus cuts inside and shoots from outside the box. Atubolu spills it, with the upright riding to his rescue to prevent what would have been a needless second West Ham goal. Streich looks on pensively...
They survived that corner, but not West Ham's next foray. The visitors build up the right with Coufal and Bowen. The cross is measured to perfection, and Paquetá rises highest to power in with his head.
Höfler shows all his experience to stop the marraduing Kudus doing any damage inside the Freiburg box. Freiburg have a corner to defend...
Assured start from Freiburg. They're pressing West Ham high up the pitch.
Freiburg are in red and white, West Ham are in their all-blue third strip.
Freiburg's home ground is rocking. Another big night of European football awaits!
Kehrer praises Freiburg
“I know SC Freiburg pretty well,” says the Germany international. “I grew up not too far from here. It’s a local club that has grown itself from within, from the Academy, with the structure that they have, which is very good, very disciplined and very encouraging for younger players here. The younger players in the first team squad here are coming through the Academy and from this region, so they have their own identity."
Streich sees Freiburg as 'underdogs'
"If you win a few challenges, the crowd get behind you immediately. Every challenge the players win, they'll be applauded. That's the advantage of being the underdog."
Who is Junior Adamu?Adamu struck 14 times in all competitions in 2022/23 to finish with a total of 23 goals in 84 games for Red Bull Salzburg. The six-time Austria international, 22, has made four substitute appearances for new club Freiburg after recovering from a knee problem. He's also played in the Champions League, scoring against Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
© IMAGO/GEPA pictures
More on those teams
Streich makes two changes to the team that beat Augsburg. Nicolas Höfler replaces the injured Yannik Keitel, while Austrian forward Junior Adamu makes his first start for the club at the expense of Ritsu Doan. As for West Ham, Mohammed Kudus, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Pablo Fornals, Łukasz Fabiański and Thilo Kehrer return to the starting line-up.
Freiburg starting line-up
Atubolu - Sildillia, Ginter, Lienhart - Sallai, Eggestein, Höfler, Kübler - Doan, Grifo (c) - Höler
Müller, Uphoff, Schmidt, Gulde, Weißhaupt, Philipp, Makengo, Röhl, Rüdlin, Doan, Breunig
West Ham starting line-up
Fabiański (c) - Coufal, Mavropanos, Aguerd, Kehrer - Ward-Prowse, Álvarez - Bowen, Paquetá, Fornals - Kudus
West Ham subs
Areola, Anang, Zouma, Cornet, Ings, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Soucek, Coventry, Emerson, Mubama
Streich ready for English test"There's no doubt about the high standard of Premier League games. This will be a huge test for us, but I'm excited to test ourselves against an established Premier League team. They have some real quality, Some of their players on their bench cost 30 or 40 million. The Augsburg win was important, and I'm confident we'll be even more composed against West Ham."
© IMAGO/Beautiful Sports
Partisan home crowd
Due to a UEFA ban, it'll only be Freiburg fans in attendance for the game - some 34,200 of them. "It’s a shame that no English fans will be there, but it’s ultimately better for us," said Grifo.
Watch: Vincenzo Grifo - Freiburg's set-piece masterApparently, West Ham's James Ward-Prowse knows a thing or two about hitting a set piece. So does Freiburg's Vincenzo Grifo, as you can see from this video of his successful free-kick strikes in the Bundesliga.
Team news - FreiburgChristian Streich has relatively few issues to contend with as Freiburg prepare for their first-ever meeting with an English side. Christian Günter's absence at the back is a loss, although two clean sheets in a row suggest they are coping without the experienced campaigner while he nurses an arm injury. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh is also out with a cruciate ligament problem. Nicolas Höfler was suspended for the Augsburg meeting but is eligible in the Europa League, while burly centre-forward Michael Gregoritsch returned from an injury as a substitute in the 2-0 win.
© Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images
Watch: Freiburg 2-0 Augsburg highlightsFreiburg moved up to eighth place in the Bundesliga with a win on Sunday.
Form - Freiburg
Freiburg are enjoying a good start to their season in their own understated way. A 3-2 win in their Europa League opener at Olympiakos may be the best result of their campaign to date, while three wins in their first six Bundesliga matches - most recently a 2-0 win at home to Augsburg have given their league campaign some decent starting momentum.
Form - West Ham
The Hammers have won an impressive four out of seven Premier League matches this season, most recently 2-0 over Sheffield United. They won a staggering 14 out of 15 European matches last season on the way to Conference League glory, and took a 3-1 victory over Backa Topola in their first match at the higher level of the Europa League.
Another Europa League night at Europa-Park StadionSince Freiburg's shiny new home opened in autumn 2021, they are unbeaten in home Europa League group stage matches. They topped Group G last season but were defeated at home to Juventus as they exited in the last 16.
© Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Thank you for joining us for live updates of the UEFA Europa League group stage tie between Freiburg and West Ham United.