A first-half brace from Michael Gregoritsch lifted Freiburg up to third in the Bundesliga after a 4-0 victory at home against struggling Schalke on Sunday.
Freiburg leapfrogged Union Berlin and RB Leipzig in its pursuit of a first Champions League appearance.
“The team knew what was coming for us and we were ready. We were determined and we deserved to win,” said Freiburg coach Christian Streich.
His Schalke counterpart, Thomas Reis, admitted his team could “be thankful that we didn’t lose by more”.
“We were in no way an equal opponent. There’s nothing much more I can say about that today,” he said.
Gregoritsch scored after just seven minutes, tapping home after a perfectly-weighted Ritsu Doan assist. The Austrian used his head to double Freiburg’s lead late in the first half, glancing in a cross from defender Christian Guenter.
Doan was again the creative force early in the second half for Freiburg’s third, pushing past several defenders to find Gregoritsch in the box.
He then threaded the ball through for Lucas Hoeler, who blasted at Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow. Schwolow failed to properly grasp the effort, allowing the ball to trickle into goal for Freiburg’s third.
Freiburg defender Matthias Ginter added a fourth with eight minutes remaining to complete the rout. Schalke, which went eight games unbeaten early in 2023, has now lost three of their past four.
The Royal Blues, a traditional German football giant, are in grave danger of being relegated straight back to the second division. They sit second from bottom and three points from safety, with five rounds of the season remaining.
Later on Sunday, Bayer Leverkusen kept its strong run of form under manager Xabi Alonso alive, winning 2-0 at home over 10-man RB Leipzig.
Leverkusen, which on Thursday made it through to the semi finals of the Europa League with a win at Union Saint-Gilloise, went to sixth place, five points outside of the top four.
The home side took the lead late in the first half through Czech Republic striker Adam Hlozek.
France winger Moussa Diaby burst through the penalty area, before cutting back to the unmarked Hlozek inside the box. The Czech Republic striker hit a left-footed finish past Janis Blaswich to open the scoring.
With Leipzig looking to salvage something from the encounter late in the game, Hungary midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai brought down Jeremie Frimpong in the box, picking up a second yellow.
Nadiem Amiri converted from the spot, sealing a comfortable win for Leverkusen. Leverkusen has now gone unbeaten in its past 13 matches in all competitions, including 10 victories and three draws.
Leipzig’s loss leaves it one point outside the Champions League spots with five games remaining.
Union Berlin can leapfrog Freiburg into fourth later when it visits Borussia Moenchengladbach, keeping its unlikely bid for a first Champions League appearance alive.
- India vs China Badminton LIVE Score, Asian Games 2023: IND men’s team eye gold vs CHN; Prannoy to miss final; Hangzhou updates
- Asian Games 2023 LIVE Updates, October 1: Men’s trap shooting team wins gold; IND 0-1 KOR in women’s hockey; Chenai wins trap bronze - Hangzhou 2022 Scores
- Asian Games 2023: Kynan Darius Chenai clinches bronze in Men’s trap final
- Asian Games 2023: Overall medals tally LIVE , October 1 - Men’s shooting trap team bags gold; Aditi Ashok wins silver, India 4th with 11 gold, 42 medals
- India vs Korea women’s hockey LIVE Updates, Asian Games 2023: KOR scores as IND trails 1-0 after first-half