Freiburg eye Europe after downing Schalke

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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.

Niederlechner scored twice in the first-half at the Schwarzwald Stadion, where Freiburg have won 10 of their 16 home games this season.

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 play-off place due to their inferior goal difference.

However the two sides moved four points clear of second-bottom Ingolstadt with just two games left to play.

Hamburg are fighting to preserve their status as the Bundesliga’s only ever-present club, having flirted with relegation from Germany’s top tier in recent seasons.

They remain in 16th place, which would lead to a two-legged play-off at the end of the season against the team that finishes third in the second division in order to stay in the Bundesliga.

Bottom side Darmstadt were relegated on Saturday following their 1-0 defeat at champions Bayern Munich with Mainz, Hamburg and Ingolstadt battling to avoid joining them in the second tier next season.

Ingolstadt are four points adrift of safety and must effectively win their final two games – at Freiburg and home to Schalke – while hoping Hamburg and Mainz drop points in order to stay up.

Mainz host Eintracht Frankfurt and then visit Cologne in their run-in, while Hamburg travel to Schalke before taking on Wolfsburg at home in the final round of matches.

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I am a vibrant sports journalist (Chief Editor/Photographer) from Ghana, a member of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana(SWAG), and International Sports Press Association (AIPS) working with Final Sports Ghana and sports reporting outfit poised to bring all the latest and trending sports news around the globe.

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