SC Freiburg ended the group stage of the Europa League after conceding a late goal with a draw but without defeat. The Bundesliga team, who were already the group winners before the last matchday, drew 1-1 (1-0) away from Karabakh Agdam on Thursday, although the sports club were outnumbered for more than half an hour.
Freiburg, who were almost completely turned inside out, initially benefited from a converted penalty by veteran Petersen (25th minute). A supposed goal by the home side was not recognized due to an offside position (56th). In addition, the referee took back a penalty kick shortly before. After the change of sides, Kevin Medina saw the red card after a rude challenge against Kevin Schade (62nd). All three decisions against Karabakh were made after the intervention of the video assistant. Nevertheless, the home side still managed to equalize. Owusu Kwabena equalized in added time (90.1).
In addition to the Breisgauers, who were already qualified for the round of 16 before the duel, FC Nantes from Group G is also wintering in the Europa League. Since the French Cup winners also won in the parallel game at Olympiakos Piraeus, Agdam fell back to third place. It is not yet clear who the Freiburg team will play against in the next round. The draw will take place on February 24, 2023.
Due to the good starting position, the only thing that mattered to the guests was to finish the group stage in a friendly way. Coach Christian Streich made it clear before departure that he did not want to give up the game without a fight. “It goes without saying that we give everything,” he said. After all, it’s still about something for the other teams, says Streich.
Nonetheless, he made ten positions in the Bundesliga game compared to the 2-0 win at FC Schalke 04, giving many top performers who have been under a lot of pressure lately a breather. Only captain Christian Günter remained in the starting XI. Lucas Höler, who was allowed to start again for the first time after surviving a broken metatarsal, had slight adjustment problems. He lost the ball on his first action in front of his own penalty area, but Owusu Kwabena was denied by Noah Atubolu (5th). The 20-year-old stood in for first-choice goalkeeper Mark Flekken.
The hosts were the more active team because the missing automatisms were clearly recognizable at the sports club. The processes and walking routes were always wrong. And yet, after surviving the pressure phase, Freiburg cheered. Petersen kept his nerve on the penalty kick and scored his first competitive goal since April 10.
Until the change of sides, Streich’s pros had the game a little better under control. They were lucky shortly after the restart when the referee decided offside twice after consulting the video referee. Outnumbered, Karabakh managed to reward themselves with a draw for their fighting performance.