BERLIN (AP) Freiburg secured an immediate return to the Bundesliga, one season after relegation to the second division, with a 2-1 win at Paderborn on Friday.
Goals from Mike Frantz and Nils Petersen, both set up by Maximilian Philipp in a three-minute spell just after the break, ensured Freiburg will finish at least second, earning automatic promotion.
“It still has to sink in,” Petersen said.
With two rounds remaining, Freiburg has 69 points, five more than Leipzig, and 10 more than third-placed Nuremberg, which has a game in hand.
Even if Nuremberg, which is all but certain of at least a promotion/relegation playoff following St. Pauli’s 2-0 defeat at 1860 Munich, wins its remaining three games, it cannot catch Freiburg.
It is Freiburg’s fifth promotion to the top flight after 1993, 1998 and 2003 – all under Volker Finke – and then 2009 under Robin Dutt.
“I’m quite calm,” said current coach Christian Streich, who was relegated with the side last season. “There were a lot of ups and downs over the year. I’m simply happy we managed it, no more.”
With 72 goals in 32 games, Streich’s side has the best offense in the second division. A run of 10 wins and one draw from its last 11 games helped clinch its return to the top flight.