Freiburg - SC Freiburg's bid for European football remains on track after the Black Forest side overcame FC Augsburg 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Augsburg in charge
Cedric Makiadi gave Christian Streich's men the lead against the run of play in a racey first half, before Jonathan Schmid settled matters for the hosts in the second period with his ninth of the season at the sold-out MAGE Solar Stadion.
Augsburg, who came into the game having collected an impressive 21 points from their 14 previous matches, were very much in command in the early stages, carving out numerous clear-cut chances after Dong-Won Ji had warned Freiburg from long range just three minutes in. Both Sascha Möders and Andre Hahn should have done better, though, each failing to beat goalkeeper Oliver Baumann when clean through on goal.
Freiburg looked nothing like the fast-paced and entertaining side their fans have come to expect in the first half hour, their best opportunity an unwitting Paul Verhaegh deflection towards his own goal which Alexander Manninger did brilliantly to keep out. Augsburg, meanwhile, continued to press forward with purpose and should have broken the deadlock on 23 minutes through Ji, but a last-ditch slide tackle from Oliver Sorg was enough to prevent the South Korea international from scoring his fourth goal in as many games.
Makiadi turns fortunes
However, the home side maintained belief and their sporadic efforts came to an avail after 30 minutes, as Makiadi forced the ball over the line after Manninger had blocked Jonathan Schmid's powerful effort. It was the confidence booster Freiburg needed, and they almost doubled their tally just before the break as Schmid's header forced Manninger to full stretch.
Chances proved much harder to come by in the opening stages of the second half, with Freiburg arguably the more threatening side. Daniel Caligiuri and Max Kruse both shot wide from range for Die Breisgauer, while, at the other end, the lively Tobias Werner had a curling effort palmed away by Manninger.
Schmid keeping cool
Freiburg upped the pressure heading towards the hour mark and soon gained their reward, Schmid leaving former Austria keeper Manninger with no chance after collecting Kruse's brilliant through-ball. Kruse himself then volleyed the ball just wide, only seconds before Caligiuri saw another effort cleared off the line.
Markus Weinzierl tried to add impetus to the visitors' attack in by introducing forward duo Knowledge Musona and Stephan Hain late on, but Augsburg found it increasingly difficult to find a way through. Both Schmid and Kruse could have extended Freiburg's advantage in the dying stages, but there were to be no further additions to the scoreline as the home side cemented their position in sixth with only two matches left to play.
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