Christian Streich rocked along, at least from a distance. When the SC Freiburg players jumped in front of the fans after moving into the Europa League round of 16, their coach watched from a distance on Thursday evening. With the 1: 1 (0: 1) against the Greek record champions Olympiakos Piraeus, the Breisgauers have secured the group victory, also because pursuer Karabakh Agdam lost 1: 2 in the parallel game at FC Nantes.
Youssef El-Arabi scored in front of 33,600 spectators in the 17th minute for Piraeus, Lukas Kübler equalized in the 3rd minute of injury time for Freiburg. Piraeus’ Osseynou Ba saw yellow-red in a hectic final phase.
“We didn’t expect that we’d be the first to go directly to the round of 16,” said goal scorer Kübler. “In the second half we were able to put more and more pressure on, use the space better and then had a lot more chances.”
No compelling chances
In comparison to the 2-0 win over Werder Bremen in the league last weekend, Christian Streich switched from a back three and five to a back four and ordered the offensive Ritsu Doan into the starting XI instead of full-back Kiliann Sildillia. The guests, who have been coached by the Spaniard Míchel since the end of September, were much more disciplined defensively than under his compatriot and predecessor Carlos Corberán, with whom they lost the first leg 3-0.
Freiburg had more possession of the ball in the first half, but hardly any compelling chances. At first they tried it once or twice with long shots over the defence. In the 35th minute, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh just missed the ball.
The lead of the Greek record champions came from one of several good counterattacks. SC goalkeeper Mark Flekken was able to parry Pep Biel’s first shot, but he shot El Arabi’s shot through his legs. Giorgos Masouras almost increased before the break. After he had already passed Flekken, he pushed the ball into the side netting instead of into the empty goal (23′).
In the second half, Freiburg played more purposefully up front and therefore deserved the equaliser. Kübler forced Olympiakos goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis to make a good save (59′), shortly afterwards Doan narrowly missed a cross (61′).
Streich again brought fresh strength to the offensive: first Woo-yeong Jeong, then Nils Petersen. But it didn’t pay off, Jeong (88′) missed the huge chance to make it 1-1 with a header shortly before the end. It all came down to 0:1 – until Kübler scored to equalize after a set piece.