Matthew Marshall, Europa-Park Stadion – Hoffenheim left it late, beating Freiburg 2-1 to steal fourth spot in the Bundesliga. A controversial free kick saw the visitors win a corner, David Raum’s delivery headed home by Chris Richards deep into in added time.
It was a close contest with Nico Schlotterbeck equalising after David Raum had put the visitors ahead in the 3rd minute. Oliver Baumann saved Vincenzo Grifo’s penalty in the 62nd minute which proved to be the turning point.
Hoffenheim took the lead in the 3rd minute, the ball getting past Lukas Kübler with David Raum racing clear and beating Oliver Baumann from a tight angle.
Freiburg got into the contest and equalised in the 21st minute. It was no surprise it came from a set piece, Nico Schlotterbeck heading Vincenzo Grifo’s corner past Mark Flekken.
Kevin Schade and Lucas Höler tested Baumann before the break with clear cut chances few and far between.
Christian Streich replaced Ermedin Demirovic with Manuel Gulde at the start of the second half which saw his side switch to a back three formation.
Sebastian Hoeneß made his first substitution in the 56th minute when Georginio Rutter replaced Munas Dabbur.
The defining moment of the match came in the 56th minute. Christian Günter burst clear and drew a foul from Kevin Akpoguma with referee Frank Willenborg pointing to the spot.
Grifo stepped up and saw his effort saved by Baumann, Schade missing an opportunity as he sent the follow up wide.
Pavel Kaderábek and Christoph Baumgartner replaced Kevin Akpoguma and Andrej Kramaric in the 68th minute which signaled a spell of pressure from the visitors.
Raum’s cross was headed over by Baumgartner, Kaderábek’s shot was deflected over the bar and Baumgartner saw another effort saved. He had another chance moments later when his fierce strike was tipped over the bar by Flekken.
Nico Schlotterbeck picked up an injury and was replaced by his brother Keven Schlotterbeck. Maximilian Eggestein and Schade made way for Janik Haberer and Roland Sallai.
Freiburg went close to regaining the lead in the 85th minute. Lukas Kübler seemed certain to score, but Baumann sensed the danger and deflected his shot over the bar.
The match took a sharp turn in added time when Hoffenheim were awarded a controversial free kick. It resulted in a corner from which they took the decisive lead, Raum’s delivery headed home by Chris Richards.
Christian Streich, his assistants and the majority of the 750 spectators were fuming after the final whistle. The defeat means the Black Forest club slip out of the top four with Hoffenheim taking their spot.