Freiburg missed out on automatic qualification to the UEFA Europa League knockouts after losing to West Ham. - © Getty Images
Freiburg missed out on automatic qualification to the UEFA Europa League knockouts after losing to West Ham. - © Getty Images

Freiburg into UEFA Europa League play-offs after West Ham loss


Freiburg will contest the UEFA Europa League round of 16 play-offs after losing their final Group A game to section winners West Ham United.

West Ham 2-0 Freiburg
Goals: 1-0
Kudus 14' (assist: Álvarez), 2-0 Álvarez 42' (assist: Bowen)

Needing a win to go straight through to the knockouts, Freiburg started brightly as Nicolas Höfler sent a header from a corner wide inside the opening 60 seconds. West Ham hit the crossbar moments later through Lucas Paquetá, though, before going one better in the 14th minute. Taking a long ball from Edson Álvarez in his stride, Mohammed Kudus punished Freiburg's high defensive line with a well-taken finish for the opening goal. Jarrod Bowen had an effort ruled out for offside following a VAR review, but there was no denying Álvarez late in the first half. After Łukasz Fabiański had saved from Ritsu Dōan at one end, the Mexican led and finished a quick counter at the other to put the Hammers in firm control of the contest.

Noah Atubolu made himself big to prevent Emerson adding a third soon after the restart. Substitute Merlin Röhl tested Fabiański in response, but the threat of a West Ham goal was never far away as Bowen shot over from close range and Kudus drilled wide. Freiburg created a couple of half chances from corners, with Höfler unable to make more of two trademark Vincenzo Grifo deliveries. Fabiański was beaten with 15 minutes to go, but the goal frame came to his rescue to thwart Noash Weißhaupt after the West Ham stopper had brilliantly saved Dōan's initial first-time strike. The result means Freiburg finish second in Group A, but will have to go through a two-legged February play-off in order to reach the round of 16.
Watch: All about Freiburg

Match stats

  • Although Freiburg's goal difference (+10) in Group A is far superior to West Ham's (+6), the Black Forest side needed to win to top the standings, given the English side's better head-to-head record (a 2-1 win in Germany in October).
  • Freiburg are competiting in the Europa League proper for the third time. They previously played in the competition's precursor, the UEFA Cup, twice.
  • Christian Streich oversaw his 465th competitive game as Freiburg coach.
  • In Thilo Kehrer (Schalke) and Mavropanos (VfB Stuttgart), West Ham have two former Bundesliga players in their ranks.
  • Including the reverse fixture, West Ham have faced German teams in competitive action 11 times. They have won five, drawn one and lost five.


West Ham: Fabiański - Coufal (Kehrer 88'), Mavropanos, Aguerd (c), Emerson - Souček, Álvarez (Fornals 54'), Ward-Prowse - Kudus (Cornet 88'), Paquetá (Mubama 72'), Bowen (Ings 72')
Unused subs: Aréola, Johnson, Cresswell, Zouma, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Coventry
Out: Antonio (knee)
David Moyes 

Freiburg: Atubolu - Sildillia, Ginter, Gulde, Makengo (Kübler 74') - Dōan, Eggestein (Höler), Höfler (c), Grifo (Weißhaupt 69') - Sallai (Röhl 46') - Gregoritsch (Adamu 56')
Unused subs: Müller, Jantunen, Rüdlin, Baur
Out: Günter (broken arm), Keitel (groin), Kyereh (knee), Lienhart (muscular), Philipp (shoulder), Schmidt (abdominals), Uphoff (back)
Coach: Christian Streich

As it happened!

2 - 0

(2 - 0)

West Ham
Europa League
Group A, Matchday 6
Group A, Matchday 6 London Stadium
+ 2

Full-time: West Ham 2-0 Freiburg

Despite a spirited second-half display, Freiburg go down 2-0 in London. They will contest a two-legged play-off for the right to compete in the Europa League last 16 in the new year.

Two added minutes

Freiburg need a miracle...

Röhl pulling the strings

Röhl magicks an opening in the penalty area, but Fabianski is alert to the danger and smothers the ball in front of Adamu.

Not over yet

Freiburg continue to probe, but the clock is against them as they chase the three goals needed to avoid the play-offs.


Doan connects with Sildillia's cross, forcing Fabianski into a superb full-stretch save. Weißhaupt is first to the loose ball, but can only find the upright from a tight angle.



Grifo hooked

Eight years Grifo's junior, Weißhaupt is thrown into the action. The 22-year-old has three goals and two assists in all competitions so far this season.

Green shoots of recovery

Höfler again from a Grifo corner, but he can't direct his effort on goal. Good spell for Freiburg, this. Röhl is really making a nuisance of himself in the No.10 role.

Not happening for Freiburg

Höfler heads off target from a Grifo corner. Set-pieces have been Freiburg's best bet all night - can they find a spark from open play?

Fresh ideas

Streich mixes things up with the pace of Adamu and penalty-box prowess of Höler in a double attacking change.


Freiburg are living very dangerously as Kudus gets past Makengo and drills wide from 12 yards. Changes are afoot...

Chance not taken!

Bowen meets Coufal's cross into the six-yard box, but is under pressure from Ginter and steers the ball over!

Worth a go!

A sign of what Röhl is capable of as he stings the palms of Fabianski from 18 yards.

Big save!

Atobulu makes himself big to stop the rampaging Emerson adding a third West Ham goal.

Freiburg change

Young Merlin Röhl is on for Freiburg. Can the German conjure up something special in the second half?
+ 4

Half-time: West Ham 2-0 Freiburg

Freiburg have it all to do in London. They need three goals without reply if they're to avoid the play-offs and go straight through to the Europa League knockouts.

West Ham double up

Freiburg need something from somewhere because they're now 2-0 down. West Ham attack with purpose after Fabianski saves from Doan, with Álvarez powering in off the flank. He plays the ball off Bowen and finishes confidently past Atubolu from close range.
Edson Álvarez

Plan B needed?

A quick look at the real-time stats shows that Freiburg are currently second best in all areas, except corners won (one). Will Streich roll the dice at the break?

Not quite!

Sallai finds joy on the left, driving into space and swinging a cross into the box for Doan, who can't do anything with it.


Grifo wriggles free on the edge of the West Ham area, but his shot is too close to Fabianski. The Italian has four goals in this season's groups, though three fell in the Matchday 3 win over Backa Topla.

Disallowed goal

Freiburg get lucky as the VAR rules out a Bowen goal for offside. He went a fraction too early, but Freiburg have to take notice. Their high line was found wanting once more.


Bowen sends a 20-yard effort wide. Doan returns fire with Freiburg's next attack, clattering an effort into Alvarez's nether regions. Painful!

Off target

Gregoritsch is under pressure as he gets his head to a cross into the West Ham area, but the Austrian can't direct it on target. Freiburg need to score at least two goals, if they're to avoid the play-offs...

West Ham strike first!

Freiburg are undone, and by a long ball at that. Kudus is first to Alvarez's pass from halfway; he beats Makengo and finishes past Atubolu from 10 yards.
Mohammed Kudus

Right idea

Sallai sends over a cross, but it's cleared before the in-form Gregoritsch can pounce. Freiburg continue to make good use of the wide areas...

Mazy run

Doan jinks forward, but is dispossessed before he can release the ball to a teammate in the West Ham area. Really bold start by Freiburg.


West Ham go so close to taking the lead with their first attack. Kudus does the hard work and crosses for Paqueta, who drives a shot against the crossbar from 15 yards.

Dead-ball threat

Another set-piece chance for Freiburg after Sallai is upended on the right-hand side. Grifo stands over it again, but this time his cross is cleared.


Freiburg win an early corner, which Grifo takes. Höfler goes up, but sends his header wide. What a start that would have been for the Bundesliga club!

Black Forest delight

The pockets of Freiburg fans are in fine voice as the match gets under way.


Freiburg are not through to the knockouts yet, though. They have to win tonight, otherwise they'll face a two-legged play-off for the right to play in the round of 16.

Streich targets top spot

"It's not exactly a prestigious game. Both teams are through whatever the result, but we really want to top the group."

Familar face

Former Stuttgart defender Mavropanos starts for the hosts. The Greek is one of three changes from the side that lost to Fulham at the weekend. Emerson and Álvarez also get the nod, with Zouma, Cresswell and Fornals the men to make way.

Two changes for Freiburg

Gulde replaces the injured Lienhart in defence, while Sallai comes into the attack at the expense of Röhl.

Moyes on Freiburg

"Freiburg, I was looking at their record last year, got to the last 16. They are a very good side and we know it will be a hard game."

West Ham news

David Moyes, meanwhile, has fewer injuries to worry about. Michail Antonio's knee issue means he will be in contention, but Alphonse Aréola and Edson Álvarez could return from their respective problems - still, even if the former is fit, Łukasz Fabiański is expected to start as he has done in four Europa League group games this season.

Freiburg team news

There are a number of absentees for Streich to contend with. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh and Christian Günter continue to recover from long-term injuries and are therefore still unavailable. Max Rosenfelder, Maximilian Philipp, Yannik Keitel and Kenneth Schmidt are also out, while Noah Weißhaupt missed the Wolfsburg game through illness and could be out again.

Previous meeting: Freiburg 1-2 West Ham

The two sides met for the first-ever time on Matchday 2. Lucas Paquetá gave West Ham the lead early on, before Roland Sallai equalised after half-time. The winner was scored by centre-back Nayed Aguerd in the 66th minute.

West Ham form

For Freiburg's opponents, it has also been a solid term. They are currently ninth in the English Premier League, just three points adrift of the second Europa League qualification space, and have done rather well in European competition, winning four of their five group games thus far. They remain in the League Cup, too, and face Liverpool in the quarter-finals next week. Still, they were beaten 5-0 by Fulham at the weekend, showing there are weaknesses Freiburg can exploit.

Freiburg form

In typical Freiburg fashion, Christian Streich's side have been going about their business quietly and efficiently. As it stands, they are eighth in the table, and only two points away from the European qualification spots. They have won three of their previous four encounters in all competitions, including a 5-0 win over Olympiacos in this competition, and, other than the previous West Ham defeat, they have made light work of Group A.

Watch: Wolfsburg 0-1 Freiburg highlights - last game

Michael Gregoritsch' second-half winner secured all three points for Freiburg on their trip to the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.

State of play

While both teams have already secured their progression to the knockout stages, there is still plenty on the line in this encounter, as an extra two-legged tie is the difference between finishing in first or second place. As it stands, both teams are level on 12 points, while they boast a goal difference of +12 compared to the Hammers' +4. However, West Ham's 2-1 win at the Europa-Park-Stadion earlier in the season means they lead the way thanks to their superior head-to-head record. As such, Freiburg must win at the London Stadium if they want to finish up on top of the pile.


Follow all of the build-up and live action as Freiburg travel to West Ham United in the UEFA Europa League right here!