SC Freiburg 3-0 1. FC Union Berlin: Breisgauers secure comfortable win to extend lead atop league
Freiburg celebrate as they continue to dominate. Image: @sc_freiburg on Twitter.

Table toppers SC Freiburg hosted Union Berlin looking to extend their lead atop the 2. Bundesliga, while the visitors continue their battle with relegation.

Freiburg had amassed 32 points from 16 games heading into this, a total matched only by RB Leipzig, while their +16 goal difference was the best in the league.

The signs were ominous for Union, who sat one point above the relegation play-off place going into this game at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. They had also conceded 27 goals through 16 games, a total second only to SC Paderborn.

The game started very openly, with Union Berlin failing to convert from a dangerous early set piece delivery on the right side.

Max Philipp then cut inside on the right side of the box in the fourth minute, gaining space before rolling a shot into the hands of Daniel Haas in the Berlin goal.

Freiburg again threatened two minutes later; a Vincenzo Grifo free kick from the right nodded back across goal amongst a crowd of bodies but eventually straight into the 'keepers hands.

Union made life difficult for the hosts in the early stages of the game as they kept a very shape, resulting in Freiburg passing the ball around the defence and struggling to make the breakthrough.

Philipp, a constant threat in and around the edge of the Union box, rolled two shots straight at Haas around the 20th minute.

Turning the screw

Grifo won a free kick on the edge of the box moments later with Fürstner felling him in the 22nd minute, going into the book in the process.

Vincenzo Grifo dusted himself down, clipping an effort towards the bottom right corner that Haas could only parry, and after the follow up by Immanuel Höhn slotted across the box. The ball found its way to Mike Frantz who had the simple task of slotting home from eight yards to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

It was 2-0 on the half hour mark and it was a Grifo free kick that caused all the problems yet again.

Union clearly had not learned their lesson from the first goal, giving the Freiburg set-piece specialist a golden opportunity again. He whipped in a peach that was met by Marc-Oliver Kempf who headed home to make it 2-0 to Freiburg and maybe game over.

Vincenzo Grifo (C) played his part with two fantastic assists. (Image credit: kicker)
Vincenzo Grifo (C) played his part with two fantastic assists. (Image credit: kicker)

It was almost 3-0 not long after as a Nils Petersen cross eluded Philipp at the far post and was cleared over the bar by Union as SCF really began to turn up the intensity.

At half-time it was 2-0 to the home side, with Christian Streich's side well in control of the game as expected. For Sascha Lewandowski's team it was a case of good early work being undone by silly fouls, and they would need a huge effort in the second half to get something from the game.

Lewandowski made two changes at the break with Dennis Daube and Steven Skrzybski introduced in place of Fürstner and Damir Kreilach.

Finishing the job

Freiburg came out looking the more creative again, and it should have been 3-0 when Frantz found himself through on goal. The winger somehow fluffed his shot much to the relief of Haas.

Union had a couple of half chances before the hour mark with Schwolow in the Freiburg goal not really tested. It became apparent the visitors were going to have to push for the next goal leaving them susceptible to counter attacks.

Albanian midfielder Amir Abrashi picked up a yellow card just after the hour mark, which consquently means he will miss Freiburg's crucial trip to Nürnberg next week.

The home side continued to pose the most direct threat of a third goal as the closing stages drew in, and they did grab it from another set piece in the 69th minute.

A low whipped corner skimmed across several players as the Union defence stood still, and when the ball found Höhn at the far post he had the simple task of tapping in from two yards out to make it 3-0 and surely three points.

Substitute Karim Guede had a chance to make the score 4-0, however he shot high and wide as the Union fans continued to show their support despite the score.

The final score was 3-0 to the home side, a deserved win as they continue rolling along in the league. Union will be extremely worried now with no sign of goals and a defence that seems prone to a few mistakes per game.

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