Deutsche Welle (English edition)
Bundesliga: Arminia Bielefeld boost survival hopes with victory over Freiburg
Arminia Bielefeld picked up a huge three points with a scrappy victory over Freiburg on Friday night. It puts the pressure on Cologne and Mainz, who play each other on Sunday, and struggling Hertha Berlin.
Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 Freiburg, SchücoArena (Santamaria og 69')
This wasn't a game that anyone will be telling their grandchildren about. But for Arminia Bielefeld, it may prove to be a pivotal three points in their quest to avoid the drop and an immediate return to the second tier of German football.
With just one victory in their previous 10 games ahead of this one, Arminia had found themselves in something of a rut. But recent results – victory in Leverkusen, a narrow defeat by RB Leipzig and a point at Mainz – has renewed hope that Arminia
can escape under coach Frank Kramer.
This Friday night contest was drab for long periods, but that was in large part to the effectiveness of Arminia's defense.
They've now conceded just five goals in their last six games, a marked improvement on the 17 in the five before that.
But that solidity comes at a cost: entertainment. Arminia are
no longer the most entertaining team in the Bundesliga, but a more prosaic approach is paying off with just six games to play.
With the game heading towards a goalless draw, Arminia suddenly struck. Masaya Okugawa's shot deflected off the unlucky Baptiste Santamaria and beyond his own helpless keeper, Florian Müller. In many ways, a scrappy deflected winner was an appropriate way to settle this high energy, low quality, contest.
To Arminia's credit, they continued to push for a second to put the game to bed. The closest they got was a disallowed header by Joakim Nilsson, who had shown Müller just a little too much forearm.
Ultimately, it mattered little. Freiburg never really tested Arminia and the Bundesliga strugglers held on for a deserved win that, for now at least, hoists them up to 14th and applies the pressure on the teams below them: Hertha Berlin, who host a revitalized Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, and Mainz and Cologne, who face each other on Sunday.