Goals from Vicente Iborra and Raul Rusescu condemned Christian Streich’s men to elimination after FC Slovan Liberec won 2-1 against Estoril Praia, with both results meaning the Black Forest club will not be participating in continental competition come the New Year.
Knowing that they needed to better Liberec’s result in order to qualify, Freiburg almost began in perfect fashion after only two minutes as centre-half Pavel Krmas’ header threatened Javi Varas' goal. Coach Streich had demanded no errors in the opening stages from his charges, and they obliged, Vladimir Darida’s booking the only blemish on an otherwise solid opening 25 minutes. Admir Mehmedi’s free-kick then nearly gave the men from the Black Forest something to celebrate, his dipping effort forcing Varas into his only real save.
There was plenty of industry on show from the hosts, and the odd moment of magic when Darida hit the bar with a cross-cum-shot, but a chilly night was being warmed up by touches of class from Sevilla's Ivan Rakitic and Diego Perotti, with the latter's long-distance effort held by Oliver Baumann. Perotti then forced the breakthrough when he drove towards the byline before cutting back for an arriving Iborra to finish emphatically just five minutes before the break.
No reward for hard work
It was a dangerous lead for Freiburg to concede - Sevilla were unbeaten in the group and the pace of Perotti and Carlos Bacca on the break made chasing the game tricky. Despite that, die Breisgauer were not without their chances, Matthias Ginter testing Varas from range, whose fumbled clearance was then volleyed over by Gelson Fernandes. With his side in a precarious position and Liberec in the lead, the Swiss international would have backed himself to score.
Freiburg did have the ball in the net on the hour mark, but Nicholas Höfler was adjudged to have handled it over the line and after a change of assistant referees, the push for two late goals began in earnest. Substitute Sebastian Kerk tried a cheeky free-kick which didn’t come off, and although Darida rallied valiantly with some willing running, Rusescu slotted home at the death as the two-time winners' experience ultimately put an end to Freiburg's European dreams.
SC Freiburg: Baumann - Sorg, Höhn, Krmas, C. Günter - Ginter, Fernandes (Pilar, 75') - Mehmedi, Lorenzoni (Kerk, 58'), Darida, Höfler
Sevilla FC: Varas - Coke, Cala, Carrico, Navarro - Cristoforo (Fazio, 78'), Iborra, Jairo, Rakitic, Perotti (Trochowski, 87') - Bacca (Rusescu, 73')
Goals: 1-0 Iborra (39'), Rusescu (90+4')