Vincenzo Grifo scored one and made another as Freiburg made it three straight wins to end the year with victory over Hertha Berlin.
Hosts Freiburg made a dream start as Jonathan Schmid looped over an inviting ball, which the unmarked Grifo stooped to meet and direct past former teammate Alexander Schwolow with just seven minutes on the clock. Roland Sallai, who scored both goals in the midweek win over Schalke, rifled an effort wide, before Keven Schlotterbeck failed to make the necessary connection with a volley from a corner. Hertha's play was flat, by contrast, but they nearly got themselves back on level terms in the 36th minute when Matheus Cunha fed Maximillian Mittelstädt, whose right-footed drive was blocked in front of his own goalkeeper by Schlotterbeck. After ex-Freiburg midfielder Vladimir Darida tested Florian Müller from range, Grifo had the chance to put daylight between the two sides on the stroke of half-time. Ermin Demirovic sent the Italy international clean through on goal, but Schwolow telegraphed his attempted chip all the way.
Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia shuffled his pack at the start of the second half, hooking Cunha for Javiaro Dilrosun. The Old Lady duly levelled thanks to a superb piece of individual play from their mercurial fresh pair of legs, who left his marker in his wake before putting a goal on a plate for Dodi Lukebakio. Dilrosun was at it again minutes later, getting in behind the Freiburg defence and striking the near post from an acute angle. Hertha were in the ascendancy, but Krzysztof Piatek and Darida failed to finish off a superb team move and were punished emphatically. Demirovic swept in out of nothing, before Manuel Gulde powered in a Grifo corner to give Freiburg breathing space. Lucas Höler prodded wide on the stretch, and Schowolow repelled Grifo and Baptiste Santamaria in an absorbing finale, in which Florian Müller pulled off a superb reaction save from Piatek. Substitute Nils Petersen converted an injury-time penalty to rub salt into the wound to leave Hertha looking nervously over their shoulders, just three points above the relegation zone.
- After going nine games without a win following their opening-day victory over VfB Stuttgart, Freiburg go into 2021 on a three-game winning run.
- Hertha were unbeaten in four prior to the contest.
- Grifo scored his sixth goal of the season, equalling his career best single-campaign return. It was was 23rd Bundesliga goal, but first with his head.
- Lukebakio scored his third of the season - all have come on the road.
- Gulde scored his fourth Bundesliga goal, while Demirovic opened his account with his eighth goal attempt in the German top flight.
- Petersen netted his record-extending 27th substitute Bundesliga goal.
Watch: Grifo: "Things are going very well right now"
Freiburg: Müller - Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gulde - Schmid, Santamaria (Abrashi 90'+1), Höfler, Günter (c) - Sallai (Jeong 60'), Demirovic (Höler 60'), Grifo (Petersen 80')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Til, Heintz, Kwon, Tempelmann
Out: Flekken (elbow), Haberer (ankle), Itter (muscular), Keitel (knee), Kübler (groin)
Coach: Christian Streich
Hertha: Schwolow - Pekarik (Zeefuik 74'), Boyata (c) (Ngankam 74'), Torunarigha, Mittelstädt - Stark, Guendouzi - Cunha (Dilrosun 46'), Darida, Lukebakio - Piatek (Redan 86')
Unused subs: Jarstein, Leckie, Alderete, Plattenhardt, Tousart
Out: Ascacibar (muscular), Cordoba (ankle), Löwen (thigh)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia