Freiburg close in on Euro­pean spot

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BER­LIN: Freiburg are on course for the Europa League next sea­son af­ter striker Flo­rian Nieder­lech­ner net­ted twice in Sun­day’s 2-0 home win against Schalke to go fifth in the Bun­desliga.

Chris­tian Stre­ich’s Freiburg, last sea­son’s sec­ond divi­sion cham­pi­ons, are hav­ing a stel­lar first sea­son back in Ger­many’s top flight.

They are in pole po­si­tion for a Europa League place but ri­vals Hertha Ber­lin, Cologne and Werder Bre­men are all within two points with two games re­main­ing.

Freiburg’s march to Europe is echoed by sec­ond-placed RB Leipzig, who were also pro­moted last sea­son, yet se­cured a di­rect Cham­pi­ons League berth for next sea­son with a 4-1 win at Hertha Ber­lin on Satur­day.

Ear­lier, rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened Ham­burg and Mainz both boosted their Bun­desliga sur­vival chances by earn­ing a point apiece in a goal­less draw.

Mainz had the best chances to take the three points in Ham­burg as Span­ish mid­fielder Jairo Sam­pe­rio came off the bench and twice went close late on.

The re­sult leaves both clubs on 34 points, with Ham­burg in the rel­e­ga­tion play­off place due to their in­fe­rior goal dif­fer­ence. AFP

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