Vincenzo Grifo scored twice as Freiburg claimed a 2-0 win away at bottom side Schalke.
Some 50 days after he was dismissed as Bochum coach following defeat in Gelsenkirchen, Thomas Reis took charge of his first game as Schalke boss looking to try and lift them off the foot of the Bundesliga table. Although Freiburg saw more of the ball, the Royal Blues started brightly and created a string of efforts for Kenan Karaman, Florent Mollet and Marius Bülter, but without posing too much of a threat. The visitors started to click midway through the half and had their best moments through Woo-yeong Jeong, whose effort fizzed just over, and Ritsu Doan, but he could only pick out ex-Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow in the Schalke net. Mollet had another effort on the counter but that familiar sinking feeling returned at the Veltins-Arena on the stroke of half-time as Grifo came in on his right foot and curled the ball neatly into the far bottom corner.
Jeong was presented with a golden chance to double the advantage early in the second half but he failed to hit the target with the goal gaping after a powerful Grifo effort was spilled following a clever free-kick routine. The goalscorer then went close again with a curling effort that skimmed the top corner of the goalframe. The South Korean was upended in the box shortly after and a penalty awarded on review. Grifo stepped up to convert past former teammate Schwolow. Tom Krauß had an opportunity to set up a grandstand finish after a one-two with substitute Simon Terodde but was denied by the legs of Mark Flekken. A seventh win of the season sees Freiburg cement their position in third place, just one and two points off Bayern Munich and leaders Union Berlin respectively. Down at the other end, Schalke have now lost eight of their 12 fixtures - and the last seven in a row in all competitions - and are five points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.
- Grifo is now Freiburg’s outright top scorer this Bundesliga campaign with six goals. Three of those have been for 1-0 – only Niclas Füllkrug has done that more often (four times).
- This was the Italy international’s second Bundesliga brace in his 186th game, but his first away from home.
- Freiburg have won all five games this season where Grifo has scored. They are unbeaten in the last 25 when he’s been on the scoresheet (18 wins, seven draws).
- The last 28 penalties Schwolow has faced in the Bundesliga have all been scored.
- Freiburg have won more Bundesliga games against Schalke (18) than against any other team
- Schalke have now gone nine games without a clean sheet – the longest current run of any Bundesliga team.
Watch: Grifo: "All going very well"
Schalke: Schwolow - Brunner, Matriciani, Yoshida (c), Ouwejan (Calhanoglu 34’) - Kral, Krauß (Latza 81’) - Karaman (Mohr 56’) Mollet, Bülter - Polter (Terodde 56’)
Unused subs: Fährmann, Aydin, Flick, Sane, Schell
Out: Cisse (muscular), Greiml (meniscus), Kaminski (calf), van den Berg (ankle), Zalazar (metatarsal)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Freiburg: Flekken - Kübler (Sildillia 85’), Ginter, Lienhart, Günter (c) - Eggestein, Höfler - Doan (Schade 76’), Jeong (Kyereh 69’), Grifo (Weißhaupt 76’) - Gregoritsch (Höler 69’)
Unused subs: Uphoff, Schlotterbeck, Keitel, Petersen
Out: Ezekwem (muscular), Gulde (knock), Sallai (eye socket), Schmid (muscular)
Coach: Christian Streich
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