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Hoffenheim - Freiburg

Germany: Bundesliga
Hoffenheim A. Kramarić (32), A. Stiller (49), S. Rudy (84)
WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-ArenaFull time3-4
Freiburg R. Sallai (23), C. Günter (50), L. Höler (70), J. Woo-Yeong (73)
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Europe secured, Günter and Höler hopeful of "Champions League Final" at Leverkusen

By Peter Vice

SC Freiburg's incredible 4-3 win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Saturday evening's "Top-Spiel" ensured that, one way or another, European club tournament football will be played at the Europa Park Stadion next season. 

After the match, goalscorers Christian Günter and Lucas Höler made their preferences about how the amazing 2021/22 campaign should be finished.

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The win over Hoffenheim last night ensures that SC Freiburg can fall no further than seventh-place over the final two rounds of the 2021/22 Bundesliga campaign. Practically speaking that translates to European football whether in the Champions' League, Europa League, or the qualification path for the UEFA Europa Conference league.


The club is thus guaranteed its fifth European club competition in its history. The Breisgauer previously qualified for European football in 1995, 2001, 2013, and 2017. A draw next week against seventh-placed 1. FC Union Berlin will be good enough secure the Europa League. After that, Freiburg concedes the season against (of all teams) fellow Champions' League aspirants Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Freiburg still need a bit of help to qualify for the Champions' League. Competing clubs Leverkusen and RB Leipzig--courtesy of the rearranged fixtures for German football's Europa League semi-finalists--have yet to play their round 32 Bundesliga matches. Freiburg will be keeping a close eye on both Leverkusen-Frankfurt and Leipzig-Gladbach on Monday night.

After the emotionally charged win, goalscorer Lucas Höler and captain Christian Günter made clear what their preferences for the rest of the season were. After speaking on responding to the pressure placed on his team by now sixth-placed Köln after another victory earlier in the day, skipper Günter spoke of he wanted to end the season.

"For us, it would be nicest if we had a Final for the Champions' League during the last match in Leverkusen," the German national team fullback noted.

Lucas Höler--scorer of what proved to be the game-winning-goal--remained euphoric after the win.


"It's the absolute highlight of my career thus far," a beaming Höler noted, "I've never played internationally before and I'm even happier that I made it with this team."

The 27-year-old forward, who joined Freiburg from Sandhausen in 2018, was then probed about the secrets of this team's success. Höler left no one out.

"The whole team," Höler said, "all the players, all the coaches, all the administrators, the physios, and the masseurs. Everyone together. We really are an awesome bunch."

"We all stick together," he concluded, "everyone is there for each other irrespective of who's on the pitch and who's on the bench. That's unique and, as I've said many times before, that's the only way it works."

Höler too had his preference for how the amazing campaign could be ideally concluded.

"We definitely want a win against Union next week," Höler explained, "So that we can have a Final for the Champions' League in Leverkusen."

True to form, a somewhat more muted Christian Streich insisted that he wasn't thinking along the same lines as his players. The SCF gaffer noted that neither the Champions' League nor the upcoming DFB-Pokal Final to be played after the season was truly on his mind after the 4-3 victory.

"It's great that we responded to a deficit and won for the first time this season after falling behind," Stretch told his post-match interviewer, "Quite honestly, that's all that I'm thinking about. I thank the team for that.


Hoffenheim
(4-3-3)
1O. Baumann
3P. Kadeřábek ↪89
25K. Akpoguma ↪89
22K. Vogt
17D. Raum
14C. Baumgartner ↪65
18D. Samassekou ↪72
13A. Stiller
9I. Bebou
27A. Kramarić (C)
10M. Dabour ↪65
Bench
37L. Philipp
7J. Bruun Larsen ↩89
29R. Skov ↩72
33G. Rutter ↩65
15K. Nuhu ↩89
24J. Che
16S. Rudy ↩65
39T. Bischof
Freiburg
(3-4-2-1)
26M. Flekken
5M. Gulde ↪46
3P. Lienhart
4N. Schlotterbeck
17L. Kübler ↪90
8M. Eggestein
27N. Höfler
30C. Günter (C)
22R. Sallai ↪71
32V. Grifo ↪88
9L. Höler ↪71
Bench
1B. Uphoff
11E. Demirović ↩71
18N. Petersen ↩46
25K. Sildillia ↩90
31K. Schlotterbeck
7J. Schmid ↩88
19J. Haberer
29J. Woo-Yeong ↩71
61R. Wagner

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