Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 3
(2 - 3)
K. Mavropanos (45), H. Al Ghaddioui (45)
J. Woo-Yeong (3), J. Woo-Yeong (9), L. Höler (28)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15.30 kickoffs: Woo-Yeong Jeong brace leads Freiburg over Stuttgart, Leverkusen top table following big win

A thrilling set of 15:30 kickoffs in the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's third round saw 18 goals netted across five fixtures.

Christian Streich's SC Freiburg and Gerade Seoane's Bayer 04 Leverkusen find themselves at the top of the table after their respective victories.
In crazy affair at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Stuttgart, visiting SC Freiburg rushed out to a 3-0 first half lead against their Swabian hosts. More sensational still, the Württembergers pulled themselves back into the match with two tallies in two minutes before it was time to head into the tunnel. Freiburg were nevertheless able to stabilize via a halftime tactical shift and hold off Stuttgart 3-2.

Facing what many deemed to be a crisis of sorts at the center-forward position, Stuttgart trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo surprised by trusting the exact same XI eventually torn apart in last week's 0-4 loss to Leipzig. Freiburg head-coach Christian Streich had to make one enforced change, with Lukas Klübler replacing the Jonathan Schmid at right-back. The Frenchman found himself in precautionary quarantine as a COVID contact.

For the visiting Breisgauer, South Korean international Woo-Yeong Jeong once again worked as a roving short striker behind Lucas Höler. The 21-year-old more than made up for his now infamous near miss last week with an absolute dream start. Jeong headed in a Christian Günter cross to put the guests up 1-0 in the 3rd. Six minutes later, the SCF attacker had a brace. Florian Müller deflected a corner onto his feet. A cool finish ensured the 2-0.

Two minutes shy of the half hour mark, the game appeared to be all but finished. Roland Sallai took advantage of woeful Stuttgart defending to service Höler in the 28th. The hosts looked in complete disarray in a 0-3 hole in front of their hometown fans. Somehow, Matarazzo's men were able to regroup. After wresting some slight control of the match back via ball possession, defender Konstantinos Mavropanos was able to pull one back at the stroke of halftime after a neat give-and-go with lead striker Hamadi Al Ghaddioui.

The Swabians were able to net another deep into first half injury time. Al Ghaddioui himself was able to tally at 45+2. VfB captain Wataru Endo did extremely well to keep a ball alive at the right corner flag, then pick out his lead striker. Streich reacted to the suddenly surprising 2-3 scoreline by making a triple substitution at half-time.

Newly acquired midfielder Maximilian Eggestein came on for the second 45 and made several crucial blocks as the Breisgauer held off a reinvigorated Stuttgart side. Apart from a pair of Roland Sallai chances on the counter, Streich's men mostly held off Stuttgart with disciplined and compact defending over the course of the second half. The match concluded without any further goals.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, a wild finish in the cathedral city saw three goals scored in the final eight minutes during the Köln-Bochum encounter. The hosting Geißböcke still came out on top in the end with a 2-1 defeat over their guests. Frankfurt's struggles continued as a late Bielefeld goal meant that Oliver Glasner's Adler had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Alm.

Mainz had virtually no trouble dispatching a totally outclassed SpVgg Greuter Fürth 3-0. One could say the same about high-flying Leverkusen, who beat up on an Augsburg side that scored two own-goals at the WWK-Arena. Leverkusen's 4-1 win over the Fuggerstädter means that die Werkself cruise to the top of the table on goal-differential.

Freiburg technically also share the "Spitzenreiter" position on seven points. Julian Nagelsmann's FC Bayern München get a chance to join Freiburg and Leverkusen at the top. Should the German giants defeat Hertha this evening, all three clubs will be in "seventh heaven".

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