There was no escape for Nils Petersen. Almost every teammate and in the end also coach Christian Streich embraced the SC Freiburg attacker.
Quite atypical for Petersen: The striker didn't earn the hugs because of a goal, but for two saves in his own penalty area. Thanks to these scenes in added time, the Sport-Club won 2-1 (2-0) against FSV Mainz 05.
"We didn't need a third goal in the closing stages," said Streich. "It's great when he comes in and shows such a presence." Veteran Petersen also has "great defensive qualities".
In the table, the Breisgauer moved up to second place. Only the worse goal difference prevented the return to the top. "But the table doesn't interest me at the moment," said Michael Gregoritsch. The Austrian gave Sport-Club the lead after three minutes, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh added eight minutes before the break. Aarón's goal was not enough for Mainz, despite a great deal of effort (52'). It was the third winless game in a row for Rheinhessen.
Freiburg continues winning streak
This increases self-confidence. That also applies to the fans. The defeats of the competitors in the top group were cheered loudly while the team did their winning lap. Streich remains humble. "The situation is extremely reassuring but I can count," he said. "We hope that we can continue to collect points so that we can continue to have peace."
With just one defeat in eleven competitive games, five games without conceding so far, entry into the second round of the DFB Cup and a full haul of points on the European stage, the Breisgau team seems to be on the right track to topping the outstanding previous season. It remains questionable how the triple burden will affect in the long term. Streich also refrained from making changes against Mainz. A novelty, because for the first time he built on an unchanged starting eleven for the fourth time in a row.
Many changes are also ruled out on Thursday in the Europa League in the home game against FC Nantes (9 p.m.). Lucas Höler has not yet made it back into the squad after breaking his metatarsal. He should be introduced carefully, and Roland Sallai is even further away from a nomination after an eye operation.
Variability as a new strength of Freiburg
But if the two offensive forces are fit again, Streich has even more options. This variability is also a new strength for Freiburg - especially since Nils Petersen also cuts a fine figure as a defender. "His sliding tackle at the end was as important as my goal," said Kyereh, who actually wanted to celebrate his first goal with a somersault. "But I ran so much in the first half. It didn't work," said the newcomer about the unusual show.
Kyereh and his teammates don't have much time to gather strength. Streich and his coaching team have to listen to every player. Gregoritsch, however, demanded honesty from every player before the English week just ended. "If someone doesn't feel so good, they have to admit it," said the international. Should he ever feel tired in the coming months, Petersen could soon cause a storm of jubilation as a possible replacement in his role as a goalscorer.