The journey to Karlsruhe was not a pleasant one due to traffic on the A5, but the applause from the 100-odd SC fans as the players ran out onto the pitch outside the Wildparkstadion 15 minutes later than anticipated was the perfect remedy. International players, as well as those with long-term injuries, weren’t present. Matthias Ginter, Lukas Kübler, Lucas Höler, Yannik Keitel, Noah Atubolu and Benjamin Uphoff missed out as they were either being rested or carrying knocks.
After a good first ten minutes, Freiburg’s first chance came as Chicco Höfler waltzed through the Karlsruhe midfield. Höfler gave the ball to Noah Weißhaupt, who slotted the ball into the net. However, he was judged to be in an offside position at the time of the pass. Junior Adamu was making his debut for the first team and, shortly before the drinks break, the Austrian attacker had his first SC goal in his sights. After a lovely bit of work by Jordy Makengo, Adamu met his cross and his effort whistled just past the post.
Grifo scores a free-kick
SC were made to work the ball around and be patient, since the hosts were sitting back. Their reward came in the 39th minute. After a foul on Maximilian Philipp, Vincenzo Grifo struck the ball cleanly from the edge of the box past the ‘keeper and into the corner.
The first promising moment for the Karlsruhe attack came just before half time. After a nice one-two, David Herold’s shot from inside the box beat SC goalkeeper Florian Müller but also the far post, which meant that Freiburg went into half time with a deserved lead.
The hosts’ pressing was much better to start the second half and they looked to be more positive, but it was SC that had the first decent opportunity to extend their lead. Following a set-piece from Vincenzo Grifo, both Junior Adamu and Kiliann Sildillia looked to be in prime position for a header, but there was a miscommunication. Both of their heads cushioned the ball’s impact and made things easy for former Freiburg player Kai Eisele between the sticks.
KSC used the second drinks break for a triple substitution. Leon Jensen entered the fray and forced Florian Müller into an excellent save with his very first touch. In the 66th minute, Jensen found the space to volley from about five yards out, but Müller’s catlike reflexes allowed him to parry the ball away. A few minutes later, Jordy Makengo made a clearance on the line, which prompted head coach Christian Streich to give his team a wake-up call.
In the closing stages, SC were calmer and more solid. In the 82nd minute, Kai Eisele tipped Maximilian Philipp’s effort over the bar and Fabian Rüdlin hit the post from the following corner.
SC held on for the win and the team were pleased that Junior Adamu was able to complete his first 90 minutes for the club: “Junior worked really hard and did well,” said coach Christian Streich. “He has now played for both the reserves and today too – we hope the knee will be okay tomorrow and he can continue his progress.”
Karlsruher SC: Weiß (46’ Eisele) – Thiede, Beifus, Bormuth (46’ Seidel), Herold – Brosinski (86’ Jung), Burnic, Öztürk (64’ Gondorf), Wanitzek (64’ Jensen) – Schleusener (64‘ Heise), Matanovic.
SC Freiburg: Müller – Sildillia, Rüdlin, Gulde (78’ S. Müller), Makengo – Weißhaupt (82’ Breunig), Eggestein, Höfler, Grifo – Philipp, Adamu.
Referee: Daniel Schlager
Photo: Achim Keller