Europa League: Joker Gregoritsch makes Freiburg dream: 1-0 against West Ham

Joker Michael Gregoritsch makes SC Freiburg dream of reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League for the first time.

Europa League: Joker Gregoritsch makes Freiburg dream: 1-0 against West Ham

Joker Michael Gregoritsch makes SC Freiburg dream of reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League for the first time. After two unsuccessful attempts, coach Christian Streich's team defeated English first division football team West Ham United 1-0 (0-0). Gregoritsch rewarded Freiburg for a courageous performance with the winning goal (81st minute).

Both teams had already met in the group phase. West Ham won 2-1 in Freiburg in October and 2-0 at home in mid-December. The second leg in London is scheduled for March 14th. In between, the sports club, which has not won in six league games, will be visiting VfL Bochum on Sunday (3:30 p.m./DAZN).

Wide awake and consistently defending forward, the home team hardly allowed anything to happen in the first half. Defender Matthias Ginter had explicitly warned about the enthusiasm of the seventh-placed team in the Premier League. “This is a top team, especially offensively. It will be important that we defend well and compactly,” said the national player.

But for long stretches there was no sign of key player Lucas Paquetá or the dangerous Jarrod Bowen, who scored a hat-trick in United's last home game. Freiburg controlled the encounter and had almost 80 percent possession of the ball in the opening quarter of an hour - the result alone left a lot to be desired.

Gregoritsch scores after being substituted on

Nevertheless: Strengthened by the 2-2 draw in the duel with FC Bayern, the Breisgau team acted confidently. Lucas Höler's finish defused Lukasz Fabianski - the best chance of the game after half an hour. Shortly before, West Ham coach David Moyes had turned away from the game in annoyance after his team's umpteenth failed build-up.

The 60-year-old's expression continued to darken even after the game restarted. Because the sports club continued to apply pressure and achieved their first dangerous goal thanks to an acrobatic side kick from Roland Sallai (48'). But the guests also became more and more determined. Former Stuttgart defender Konstantinos Mavropanos headed just wide after SC keeper Noah Atubolu misjudged a corner (53'). Paquetá's header was also inaccurate (62'), and Bowen was denied by Atubolu (65').

Streich reacted and brought in Gregoritsch, the decisive goalscorer of the playoff second leg against RC Lens. That paid off. The Austrian was on the pitch for just eleven minutes before he struck again. In the end, Freiburg had to tremble - but according to the video footage, the referee did not give the guests a hand penalty.

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