Sensational SCF into Pokal semi-final with historic win at Bayern


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The third minute of added time at the Allianz Arena was the cue for all the drama, as referee Harm Osmers pointed to the spot after Jamal Musiala handled the ball inside the Bayern penalty area. With the score poised at 1-1, Lucas Höler stepped up and coolly slotted past Yann Sommer into the back of the net to send the squad and the away end into ecstasy. In that split second, Höler, his teammates and all the coaching staff all but made history: they did not just beat the German record champions away from home for the first time in the club’s history, but also secured passage into the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal for the second year in a row. A minute later and the final whistle blew to cue yet more wild celebrations in the Freiburg camp.

“We thought long and hard about how we would go up against Bayern,” explained head coach Christian Streich after full-time. “The team did a lot of  good stuff off the ball, we made life difficult for Bayern and had the right gaps between our players. I’ve lost so often in Munich, I think we can be allowed to win this one here!”

One change from Hertha draw

The SCF coaching staff reverted to a back four for the cup quarterfinal, making one change to the team which started the 1-1 draw against Hertha BSC at the weekend. Michael Gregoritsch, who was suspended for Saturday’s fixture, returned to the starting lineup for the game – Kenneth Schmidt took a place amongst the substitutes as a result. Thomas Tuchel also made one alteration following his debut win against Borussia Dortmund – Joao Cancelo replaced Alphonso Davies.

“We need everybody to be at 100%,” said Streich ahead of the game, well aware of the tough challenge posed by the Bavarian side. The home side lived up to their billing with lots of possession, but were unable to create goalscoring chances early on due to the well-organised and aggressive Freiburg midfield. The first shot of the game came from the hosts after 12 minutes, as Leroy Sané raced through the middle into the box, but his low shot missed Mark Flekken’s goal – the Dutch goalkeeper had taken over from Noah Atubolu between the sticks for this Pokal round.

Upamecano scores, Höfler wonder-goal equalises

Attempt number two for FCB was more successful than the first, giving them a somewhat controversial lead on 20 minutes. As a corner was sent in, Dayot Upamecano climbed higher than Maxi Eggestein and headed in. There were protests from the Freiburg players as it seemed the goalscorer had used his arm to foul his marker, but referee Osmers and VAR gave the goal.

Roared on by a rowdy away end of 7,500, SCF looked to get straight back in the game and created their first dangerous chance on 24 minutes. A beautiful Vincenzo Grifo cross was headed towards goal by Gregoritsch, but Sommer was able to deal with it.

Three minutes later, though, that huge away end was able to celebrate a truly special goal. The ball rolled out to Nicolas Höfler around 25 yards out, who took a touch and fired a wonderful strike past Sommer and into the top corner (27’). One of the goals of the month from the veteran midfielder.

All square at half-time

This was a proper cup tie – both teams flew into tackles with full force. Gregoritsch found himself on the receiving end of Bayern physicality many a time, but the referee’s whistle seldom came. It was rather ironic, then, that the Austrian was the first player to be shown a yellow card in the game.

There were two more moments of danger for the SC defence as the first half drew to a close. Mark Flekken was able to snatch the ball away from an onrushing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting after a low cross into the six-yard box (45’), before Matthias Ginter cleared a ball off the line a minute later. That meant the first half ended all square at 1-1.

SCF hold their own

Freiburg had held up to the German record champions for 45 minutes – would that hold up for the second half? The first chance following the restart, at least, belonged to the away side. Lucas Höler looked to score from a corner, but missed the target (48’). Not long later, Matthias Ginter headed into Sommer’s arms from 12 yards (53’).

Although the home side held their line higher and looked to retake the lead, Freiburg held their own and put together some exceptional moves to free themselves from Bayern’s clutches. SCF threw themselves into every challenge and won the ball back many a time in midfield. The first real opening for the home side after the break came just after the hour mark, as Benjamin Pavard’s header hit the crossbar.

The closing stages saw Bayern pin their opponents in their own half, but without creating clear-cut opportunities. The Freiburg counter attacks were also only able to find their way into the final third on a few rare occasions.

That was the pattern of the game until the final minute of added time, and it looked as though SCF would be heading into extra time for the third occasion in the Pokal this season. That was until Osmers pointed to the spot and Höler sent the travelling fans wild. “It’s a special win because we’ve never beaten Bayern here. Everything has to come together against this team, but we didn’t just get lucky – we also did a lot of fantastic things today,” praised Streich.

The DFB-Pokal semi-final draw will be made at 19:00 CEST this Sunday.

Photo: Achim Keller


Sensational SCF into Pokal semi-final with historic win at Bayern

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