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Freiburg beats West Ham United in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League – Michael Gregoritsch's joker bites

Freiburg beats West Ham United in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League – Michael Gregoritsch's joker bites

The dream of reaching the first European quarter-finals is alive: Freiburg achieves a historic achievement in the Europa League thanks to Michael Gregoritsch.

Christian Streich's side won the first leg of their Round of 16 match against West Ham United 1-0 (0-0) and could reach the international quarter-finals for the first time in the club's history.

“It was really important. It was a really good game from the whole team, and we were in a great mood,” Gregoric told RTL.

The Pressgauer team, which excelled in the first half, confirmed its improved level after winning by one point against Bayern Munich in the German League (2: 2), and substitute Gregoritsch (81) advanced by a small margin. For Freiburg “Mr. European Cup” this was already the fifth goal in the current competition.

Freiburg has been waiting a long time for the penalty kick decision

Things got interesting again in stoppage time when the visitors called for a handy penalty – the ball struck the arm of Noah Weißhaupt, who was also a substitute – but they did not receive it after minutes of checking.

“If it goes on for a long time, you think it can't be that clear,” Gregoric said. “Today we were lucky, and we are happy to accept that.” As is the case with its first participation in the Europa League, West Ham is threatened with elimination against a German team, and in 2022 it ended up reaching the semi-finals against Frankfurt.

The second leg of the Conference League champions, who have bounced back after a poor start to the year, will be played on March 14 (6.45pm GMT), the dream goal being the final in Dublin on May 22.

Freiburg executes the prank brilliantly

In the preliminary round, Prezgauer's team lost both duels with West Ham, so, as second place in the group, they had to take a detour via the intermediate round against Lens.

In order to retaliate, the sports club must have “a lot of confidence” and “shape the game itself.”

The team immediately executed Streich's plan, and after only 27 seconds, after a brilliant combination, Roland Salai was only able to be saved by Vladimir Coufal in great distress. Freiburg dominated the match against a surprisingly negative British team, playing very patiently and with great possession of the ball. However, there was a lack of ideas and precision in the final third.

Gregoritsch allows Freiburg to celebrate again

The exception was a brilliant pass from Szallai to Lukasz Höller, but he shot the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's arms from 14 meters in front of 34,700 spectators (30th place). Apart from two failed shot attempts by Jarrod Bowen (16th, 31st), there was nothing attacking from the Hammers, who were lurking on the counter-attack.

After the substitution, the English suddenly played more courageously and the game turned around considerably. Konstantinos Mavropanos (52) headed the outside post after a corner kick, forcing Bowen Atopoulou to make a great save (64).

Freiburg made a lot of mistakes and invited West Ham over and over again. Gregoric was dangerous again with his header (72nd) before pushing the ball over the goal line from close range.

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