Chris Richards stuns Freiburg with late Hoffenheim winner
An injury-time header from Hoffenheim's Chris Richards saw Sebastian Hoeneß's visitors claim all three points in a 2-1 win against a Freiburg side left ruing a second-half penalty miss.
Freiburg 1-2 Hoffenheim
Goals: 0-1 Raum 3', 1-1 Schlotterbeck 21' (assist: Grifo), 1-2 Richards 90'+4 (assist: Raum)
Prior to an encounter that pitted fourth against fifth in the standings, Freiburg coach Christian Streich predicted an "attractive and intense game." The home tactician - who previously oversaw a 6-0 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach - wasn't wrong but he wouldn't have been happy to see Hoffenheim's David Raum racing in from the left before lashing home his first Bundesliga goal after only three minutes. The visitors were no doubt well-schooled in advance on their opponents' set-piece prowess - Freiburg, after all, are the league leaders from dead-ball situations. It was all the more surprising, therefore, to see Hoeneß's team surrender their lead to a relatively straightforward Vincenzo Grifo corner that was headed in by Nico Schlotterbeck. Their tails now up, Streich's men came again soon after, Kevin Schade losing out to goalkeeper Oliver Baumann from point-blank range.
Currently in his eighth season at Hoffenheim, Baumann penned a one-year contract extension with Die Kraichgauer in the lead up to this game and the 31-year-old was celebrating in style with a smart second-half penalty save to deny Grifo after Kevin Akpoguma had fouled Christian Günter in the area. Spurred on by that impressive stop, the visitors - chasing a fourth straight win - stepped up their efforts. Christoph Baumgartner entered a personal battle with Mark Flekken, the home 'keeper denying the Austrian midfielder and keeping his side on terms with several fine saves. At the other end, Kübler slid in before firing over the crossbar in what looked to be the game's last big chance, until Bayern Munich loanee Richards dramatically headed in Raum's corner kick deep into injury time.
- Richards is the 15th different player to find the net for Hoffenheim this season. No other Bundesliga team can boast as many goalscorers thus far in 2021/22. It was the US international's first Bundesliga goal, on his 28th top-flight outing.
- Schlotterbeck - who registered his very first goal for Freiburg in last week's dismantling of Gladbach - made it two in two against the Sinsheimers.
- Freiburg have scored more goals from set pieces (14) than any other Bundesliga team this season.
- Günter appeared in his 250th Bundesliga match. He has been in the starting line-up for each of the past 94 matchdays, the longest current record of any player in the league.
- Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric was making his 200th competitive appearance for the club.
- Baumann has saved three of the last six Bundesliga penalties he has faced, and 10 in total in his German top-flight career.
Watch: Chris Richards - 'Something I'll never forget!'
Freiburg: Flekken – Kübler, Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck (K. Schlotterbeck 76'), Günter – Schade (Sallai 76'), Eggestein (Haberer 76'), Höfler, Grifo (Jeong 84') – Höler, Demirovic (Gulde 45')
Subs: Atubolu, Gulde, Petersen, Haberer, Sallai, Sildillia, Jeong, K. Schlotterbeck, Weißhaupt
Out: Keitel (muscular), Schmid (match fitness)
Coach: Christian Streich
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) – Posch, Vogt, Richards – Akpoguma (Kaderábek 68'), Samassekou (Rudy 89'), Stiller, Raum – Bebou (Adamyan 89'), Dabbur (Rutter 56'), Kramaric (Baumgartner 68')
Subs: Pentke, Kaderabek, Nordtveit, Baumgartner, Rudy, Gacinovic, Hübner, Adamyan, Rutter
Out: Bicakcic (knee), Bruun Larsen (muscular), Geiger (thigh), Grillitsch (cold), John (ill), Skov (thigh)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
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