WATCH: GRIFO: "IT'S NOT EASY TO TAKE TWO PENALTIES IN ONE MATCH"
FREIBURG GO SECOND!
The damage was done in the first 20 minutes of this game thanks to Grifo’s hat-trick, with Freiburg shifting down a couple of gears after the break to see the result over the line. That’s it for Bundesliga action this year – we’ll be back in January!
Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 90 minutes
Christian Günter 33.45km/h
Sheraldo Becker 32.88km/h
Yannik Keitel 32.75km/h
Sallai meets Günter's cross from the left first time but his shot whistles just wide of the near post.
UNION PULL ONE BACK!
Michel converts from the spot to give the Union fans something to cheer about!
GOAL!4 : 1
PENALTY TO UNION
A foul in the box and Union have a chance for a consolation!
Gießelmann, under no pressure on the left, tries to switch play to the opposite side of the pitch. His miscues it though and the ball goes nowhere near a teammate and out for a Freiburg throw-in. It just about sums up their evening.
Both teams make two substitutions for the last few minutes. Union will no doubt be pleased to see the back of Grifo.
Distance run (km)
CHANCE FOR UNION!
Their best of the game so far. Grifo gives the ball away cheaply in midfield and the visitors break forward at pace. A cross from the right finds substitute Thorsby in the middle and he controls it brilliantly before shooting on the turn from 12 yards. It's straight at Flekken though, and the Freiburg goalkeeper makes the save.
As one of three subs, the Bundesliga's record supersub Nils Petersen takes to the pitch. He's got 33 goals off the bench in his career so far.
MAKING THE BALL DO THE WORK...
A FOR EFFORT
Ryerson tries to make something happen down the Union left as he sprints forward with purpose. Freiburg are in no mood to allow their guests a sniff of a chance though, and he's swiftly hounded off the ball by three defenders.
DOUBLE CHANGE FOR UNION
Some fresh legs for the visitors for the final 30 minutes.
OPENING FOR KÜBLER
Grifo plays the ball into Kübler's run down the right, but his low cross into the middle is plucked out of the air at the near post by Grill.
NO WAY THROUGH
1 off target
5 on target
1 off target
0 on target
FREIBURG IN CONTROL
As you'd expect against 10 men, the hosts are seeing far more of the ball right now and are patiently probing for openings, shifting the ball from one side of the pitch to the other in a bid to tire their visitors out.
SECOND HALF UNDER WAY
The ball is rolling again in Freiburg. No changes for the hosts but Union are going for damage limitation after taking off Becker and bringing on Jaeckel at the break.
WHAT A HALF!
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more eventful opening to a game anywhere. Three goals, three penalties – two scored, one missed – a sending off all inside 20 minutes. Gregoritsch’s goal on the strike of half-time has made any Union hopes of a comeback all the more unlikely in the second half.
FOUR FOR FREIBURG!
Lovely work from Doan, who draws a handful of defenders towards him inside the Union area before playing it to his left to Gregoritsch. The Austrian forward dinks the ball over Grill and into the net!
GOAL!4 : 0
FREIBURG GOING SECOND
If the result holds - which you think it should as they're 3-0 up at home against 10 men - then the home side will be in second place over the winter break, four points behind Bayern and two ahead of Leipzig.
Never before in Bundesliga history have three penalties been awarded in the first 20 minutes of a game.
Freiburg have been in the zone so far today...
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Günter's cross from the left is only half-cleared to the edge of the Union area. Sildillian strikes it well on the volley but the ball can't make it through a crowd of legs.
DOAN MAKING MISCHEIF
The Japanese attacker again makes a nuisance of himself down the right, jinking his way forward before cutting inside and drilling a low shot towards the near post. Grill is alert though, and saves well.
Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 30 minutes
Ritsu Doan 32.71km/h
Kevin Behrens 32.06km/h
Diogo Filipe Monteiro Pinto Leite 31.78km/h
Freiburg are playing keep-ball right now, aware that they don't need to push for another goal. Union are just chasing shadows at the moment and will need to be careful not to come away with an even heavier defeat.
0 off target
3 on target
1 off target
0 on target
The midfielder gets his third of the game, and second from the spot!
GOAL!3 : 0
ANOTHER PENALTY TO FREIBURG!
Doan darts into the box, he's too quick for Leite, and goes down under the defender's challenge. Referee Aytekin points straight to the spot and shows Leite a straight red card as the last defender.
Freiburg's chances of victory looked good even at kick-off, but barring an epic Union comeback they're virtually ensured all three points now!
© THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images
OFF THE POST!
Flekken guesses the right way - low to his right - but Knoche's spot-kick has too much power on it for him to reach. The Freiburg goalkeeper can still breathe a sigh of relief though, as the ball strikes the base of the upright and bounces clear!
PENALTY TO UNION!
Knoche to take after a foul on Becker!
ON A ROLL
Grifo now has eight goals in 15 league appearances this term - a career best for the midfielder.
GRIFO AT THE DOUBLE!
What is going on?! Freiburg launch a textbook counterattack, with Grifo exchanging passes with Gregoritsch before tapping in at the back post!
GOAL!2 : 0
GRIFO BURIES IT!
A dream start for the home side, with Grifo sending Grill the wrong way from the spot for his seventh goal of the season!
GOAL!1 : 0
PENALTY TO FREIBURG!
After a VAR intervention, the referee checks his pitch-side monitor for a potential handball against Trimmel from Günter's cross for Doan just now.
Doan ghosts into the Union box unmarked and launches himself at a cross from the left, but his diving header is straight at Grill.
HERE WE GO!
The visitors get the final Bundesliga game of 2022 up and running!
TEAMS ON THE PITCH
We're moments away from kick-off now as the players line-up to shake hands.
WATCH: FREIBURG PITCH INSPECTION
TEAM NEWS - FREIBURG
Christian Streich has also made two changes to his team following the defeat by Leipzig on Wednesday. Grifo returns to the line-up in place of Jeong, while Eggestein is given a breather in central midfield. He's replaced by Keitel, who makes his fourth start of the season.
WATCH: HERE'S HOW UNION ARRIVED A SHORT WHILE AGO
TEAM NEWS - UNION
The visitors have made two changes following their 2-2 draw with Augsburg in midweek: Trimmel comes in for Gießelmann, with Haraguchi replacing the suspended Khedira and making his first start in over a month.
FREIBURG STARTING XI
Flekken - Kübler, Ginter, Lienhart - Sildillia, Keitel, Höfler, Günter (c) - Doan, Gregoritsch, Grifo
Uphoff, Schlotterbeck, Sallai, Jeong, Weißhaupt, Eggestein, Petersen, Schade, Höler
UNION STARTING XI
Grill - Doekhi, Knoche, Leite - Trimmel (c), Seguin, Haberer, Haraguchi, Ryerson - Becker, Behrens
Busk, Thorsby, Jaeckel, Michel, Gießelmann, Pantovic, Kemlein, Leweling, Jordan
THE VIEW FROM FREIBURG
THE VIEW IN BERLIN
THE TREATMENT ROOM
A BATTLE OF DEFENSES
Although Freiburg and Union have not exactly been goal-shy this season, the outcome of this match could be decided by the respective backlines. Only league-leaders Bayern have conceded less, while no other team in the top flight outside of the Bavarians and the two other high-flyers have shipped less than 20 goals. Union's 5-0 defeat at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen and Freiburg's loss by the same scoreline versus Bayern Munich are anomalies – neither team have otherwise conceded more than two times in a single match, and they have kept 13 league clean sheets between them.
UNION HELD LAST TIME OUT
These two sides have not met each other often – in fact, this will only be their 12th meeting. The 'Eisernen' have come out on top more frequently, winning five times to Freiburg's two. Union's 4-1 victory in May last season was emphatic, and came at a particularly inopportune moment for Freiburg. The humbling at the hands of the Urs Fischer and Co was one of their last two games of the campaign, both of which were lost, as they slipped out of the top four and ultimately finished in sixth, one spot behind Union.
THE FORM BOOK
Both teams have performed beyond even the wildest expectations of their supporters this term. On Matchday six, Union Berlin moved to the summit of the Bundesliga for the first time in their history, and stayed there until Matchday 13. Despite failing to win either of their previous two games, they sit second in the table, one place above Freiburg. The 'Breisgau Brasilianer' came within a whisker of Champions League qualification last season and also lost the DFB Pokal final on penalties, but instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they have pushed on this time around. Christian Streich's side have suffered only three defeats and look a good bet for a top-four spot come the end of the campaign.