Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 1
(1 - 1)
RB Leipzig
X. Simons (6), L. Openda (79), C. Baumgartner (80)
M. Röhl (45)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Baumgartner beats back the "Freiburg Röhl" as Leipzig top SCF

In the battle of a pair of teams fresh off successful European action, SC Freiburg were unable to hold RB Leipzig to a draw at the Red Bull Arena on Sunday evening. 

A match deadlocked at 1-1 through the 79th minute cracked open when RB sub Christoph Baumgartner drew a penalty. Baumgartner would then score from open play shortly thereafter. 
SC Freiburg fell 1-3 to RB Leipzig on Sunday evening in the 2023/24 German Bundesliga's match-day 11 capper. Christian Streich's Breisgauer were able to hold their own against a superior RB side for a time, yet wilted towards the end and concede two late goals. Leipzig were thus able to return to winning ways following a shock defeat to FSV Mainz 05 in the league last weekend. The German Red Bulls also climbed above Dortmund (following their loss yesterday) to take third place in the table. Freiburg remain in 8th place with a little less than a third of the season played.

Both coaches, surprisingly enough, engaged in little-to-no tinkering with the sides that were successful in midweek European action. RB trainer Marco Rose made only one change to the XI that emerged victorious from their trip to Belgrade. Lukas Klostermann took over for Benjamin Henrichs in the defensive line. Klostermann took Mohamed Simikan's place in central defense whilst Simakan swung out to take Henrich's right-back role. Streich, meanwhile, trusted the exact same XI that delivered the 5-0 Europa League victory on Thursday.

Leipzig were quick to reward themselves for a strong opening phase with the 1-0 in the 6th minute. The on-fire Xavi Simons took a midfield ball off go Nicolas Höfler and powered home an exceptional finish from 20 meters out. The hosting Saxons pushed hard to double the advantage. In several instances over the course of the initial 45, Freiburg were only able to preserve the score-line thanks to some sharp saves from young keeper Noah Atubolu. Loïs Openda, Xavi, and Xaver Schlager all recorded efforts.

As half-time approached, however, the buckling and fraying SCF defensive line stabilized and some imprecise approach play from Leipzig accorded the Breisgauer a way back into the match. Thursday's hero Merlin Röhl pulled off the spectacular once again by scoring the equalizer six minutes into first-half injury time. The surging Germany U21 international unleashed a scintillating solo-run that saw him skirt past Simakan, Klostermann, and Amadou Haidara before scoring the 1-1. Röhl initiated the sequence with a brilliant slide tackle against Benjamin Sesko.

The two teams largely neutralized one another during a flat start to the second-half. Midfield turnovers and mistakes characterized the game. Freiburg looked the slightly better side, with Röhl continuing to impress and Noah Weißhaupt seeing a goal narrowly disallowed for offside. It was nevertheless Leipzig who would score the next goal after Vincenzo Grifo was ruled to have fouled the subbed on Chritoph Baumgartner in the box. Openda converted the 2-1 from the spot in the 79th.

Shortly after that, the German Red Bulls were able to add another goal from open play. Xavi ran a 3-vs-2 breakaway and served Baumgarter on the right. The Austrian slotted home the 3-1 a mere two minutes after drawing the penalty. Streich remained animated on the sidelines down the stretch, verbally trying to will his team forward. Careful ball management from Rose's side nonetheless ensured that the match would crawl to a quiet finish.

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