Nils Petersen got off the mark for Freiburg as they held on to beat promoted side Stuttgart 3-2 in a south-west derby on Bundesliga Matchday 1.
It is was a typically full-blooded affair between the two Baden-Württemberg rivals and although Robert Massimo lashed an early shot over the bar for Stuttgart, it was the away side who soon took control of the match. Petersen, Freiburg’s top scorer last season with 11 goals, opened his account for 2020/21 with a superb header from a cross by Roland Sallai, who himself got on the scoresheet to double the lead with a tap-in after Petersen’s audacious back-heel had been saved. Lucas Höler had an effort disallowed for offside and Sallai tested Gregor Kobel from distance as Freiburg flexed their muscles, and although Stuttgart struggled to created chances at the other end of the pitch, they did have two good opportunities: Silas Wamangituka had a shot cleared off the line by Dominique Heintz before Orel Mangala blazed over with a clear sight of goal shortly before half-time.
The start of the second half mirrored that of the first as Daniel Didavi quickly found Massimo, but his shot lacked the power to beat Florian Müller. Freiburg showed them how it was done seconds later though, as Sallai’s pass released Höler behind the home defence, and he cut the ball back to Vincenzo Grifo to slot home. Stuttgart needed to show a reaction, and did so: Gonzalo Castro somehow skewed a shot wide from the edge of the six-yard box, Wamangituka was denied at the back post by Jonathan Schmid and Mateo Klimowicz had a shot saved when one-on-one with Müller. They refused to let their heads drop, however, and got their reward when Didavi’s defence-splitting pass teed up Sasa Kalajdzic to pull a goal back with an eye-catching chip over the goalkeeper. Buoyed but that strike, Stuttgart soon got another when Wamangituka held off his marker and finished calmly in the 81st minute, setting up a frenetic finale. Yet try as they might, the home side were unable to force a late equaliser and were left ruing what might have been.
- Petersen’s goal was the earliest Freiburg have found the net in a Bundesliga season since the year 2000 – when they scored against Stuttgart after four minutes.
- Freiburg scored 18 goals from set-pieces in 2019/20, the second highest tally in the league. Sallai’s effort was their first goal from a dead ball this term.
- Stuttgart’s Wataru Endo, Mateo Klimowicz, Massimo and Wamangituka all made their Bundesliga debuts in this game.
- Müller made his Freiburg debut just four days after signing for the club.
- Freiburg have never previously scored three goals after 48 minutes away from home under head coach Christian Striech.
- Stuttgart's substitutes scored more often in Bundesliga 2 last season (14 times) than any other team; Kalajdzic's goal shows that head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo has not lost his touch.
Stuttgart: Kobel - Anton, Kaminski (Kalajdzic 65'), Kempf - Massimo (Cisse 78'), Endo, Mangala, Castro (c) (Klement 60') - Didavi, Klimowicz (Al Ghaddioui 78') - Wamangituka
Unused subs: Bredlow, Coulibaly, Stenzel, Churlinov, Sosa
Out: Förster (calf), Gonzalez (thigh), Mavropanos (muscular), Thommy (elbow)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Freiburg: Müller - Schmid (Kübler 77'), Lienhart, Heintz, Günter (c) - Sallai (Kwon 77'), Höfler, Grifo (Abrashi 89') - Jeong (Gulde 88'), Petersen, Höler
Unused subs: Uphoff, Demirovic, Itter, Tempelmann, Boukhalfa
Out: Flekken (elbow), Haberer (ankle), Schlotterbeck (muscular), Til (ankle)
Coach: Christian Streich