Freiburg - SC Freiburg ended 2013 as they mean to start 2014, with a 2-1 win over Hannover 96 thanks to Admir Mehmedi's brace.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich had asked for his team to draw on all of their reserves of energy for this, their final instalment of 2013, and Mehmedi certainly followed orders. The Swiss striker was a constant threat to the Hannover defence and he gave the hosts the lead by keeping his composure inside the penalty area to stroke the ball into the bottom corner. He doubled their lead when he intentionally diverted Jonathan Schmid's volley in, enabling Freiburg to go into the interval with a lead for the first time this season.
Freiburg's reaction to their two-goal advantage was to retreat in an attempt to put the points in the bank. By doing that, however, they invited Hannover to put them under pressure - a dangerous tactic considering Mirko Slomka's men had recovered from a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3 with 1. FC Nürnberg a week ago. Leonardo Bittencourt nearly punished them with the first real shot to test Oliver Baumann, but the keeper made a smart save.
Baumann had little more work to do, although he was beaten late on by a Bittencourt far-post header. Nevertheless, Freiburg were able to celebrate a win which takes them to within a point of safety, and gives them reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the season.
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