Freiburg lost their top-six berth on Saturday but they made it crystal clear they wanted it back, taking the lead just ten minutes in with Petersen’s earliest ever Bundesliga goal, fired to perfection beyond Bernd Leno’s reach. Petersen could have made it two soon after while Onur Bulut also went close for an efficient and effective home side, faced with a Leverkusen outfit who had plenty of the ball, but lacked ideas and incision.
Freiburg were the exact opposite, looking lethal each time they won back possession. They could have extended their lead following a promising counter-attack early in the second half, only for Aleksandr Dragovic to save the visitors. Leverkusen were thus still in the game and a penalty allowed them to level through Kevin Volland on the hour mark. Freiburg regrouped, regathered their strength and hit back defiantly and Pascal Stenzel sent the Schwarzwald-Stadion wild with a stunning late winner for Christian Streich’s men.
Man of the Match
Florian Niederlechner did not manage to get his name on the scoresheet, but he came close by hitting the crossbar before Petersen scored. Following Leverkusen’s equaliser, he was the man who lifted his team-mates and led by example.
With just four games to go, Leverkusen now face an uphill struggle to qualify for Europe next season – and it would be the first time since 2009/10 that there would be no European football at the BayArena. Freiburg, meanwhile, have strengthened their claim for a return to the continental stage with this win.
- The last time Petersen scored in a game he started was on 5 May 2015, against Paderborn.
- Freiburg have only thrown away a 1-0 lead to lose once this season – against Bayern Munich.
- Leverkusen’s equaliser came in the 60th minute – the very same minute they levelled against Freiburg in the reverse fixture.
Freiburg: Schwolow – Ignjovski, Söyüncü , Kempf, Günter – Höfler – Frantz (c) – Bulut (75′ Stenzel), Haberer (90+1′ Guede) – Petersen (76′ Nielsen), Niederlechner
Coach: Christian Streich
Leverkusen: Leno – Hilbert, Dragovic, Toprak (c), Wendell – Baumgartlinger , Kampl – Havertz (79′ Aranguiz), Volland, Brandt – Chicharito
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Watch: click play on the video below to hear what Nils Petersen thinks of Freiburg’s European push: