Freiburg made light work of Bundesliga 2 promotion hopefuls Hamburg on Tuesday, running out 3-1 winners to book their place in the DFB Cup final.
Hamburg 1-3 Freiburg
Goals: 0-1 Petersen (11’), 0-2 Höfler (17’), 0-3 Grifo (pen. 35’), 1-3 Glatzel (88')
HSV began the match eager to go on the front foot and matters might have panned out differently had top scorer Robert Glatzel managed to place his header on target early on. Freiburg soon wrestled control of the game though, flexing their top-flight muscle in the 11th minute when Nils Petersen headed them in front from Nicolas Höfler’s cross. Höfler himself got his name on the scoresheet shortly afterwards as Freiburg pressed home their advantage, forcing the home side into a mistake that allowed the 32-year-old to smash in a deflected shot from the edge of the box. Vincenzo Grifo all but rubber-stamped the Black Forest club’s ticket to the final in Berlin with a penalty after Nico Schlotterbeck had been fouled inside the box. To their credit, Hamburg refused to give in and had an Anssi Suhonen goal disallowed for offside as they sought a way back into the game.
They carried that momentum into the second half too, harrying and pressing their visitors high up the pitch, albeit without seriously testing Mark Flekken between the posts. At the other end, Freiburg continued to serve reminders of why they’re pushing for UEFA Champions League qualification, at times seemingly slicing through the HSC rearguard at will, with Roland Sallai forcing a fierce angled drive into the side netting, and Petersen giving Heuer Fernandes a momentary scare with an attempted lob. Hamburg were eventually rewarded for their persistence in the closing stages with a consolation goal when Glatzel's expert header from a left-wing cross at least gave the home crowd something to cheer about, but the damage had already been long since done by then, allowing Freiburg to celebrate their place in next month's decider.
- Freiburg have reached a major final for the first time in the club’s history.
- Their previous best run in the DFB Cup was in the 2012/13 campaign, when they were knocked out by VfB Stuttgart in the semi-finals.
- Grifo has four DFB Cup goals this season, and is Freiburg’s 12-goal top scorer in all competitions. He also has seven assists.
- Petersen has scored 12 goals in 15 DFB Cup appearances for Freiburg.
- Höfler’s goal was his first ever in this competition. It was his third of the 2021/22 season overall.
- Three-time winners Hamburg have now lost their last five DFB Cup semi-finals.
Hamburg: Heuer Fernandes – Heyer, Vuskovic, Schonlau (c), Vagnoman (Alidou 82') – Meffert, Reis (Kaufmann 69') – Jatta (Muheim 82'), Kittel, Suhonen (Chakvetadze 85') - Glatzel
Unused subs: Mickel, Gyamerah, Kinsombi, Wintzheimer, David
Out: Krahn (muscular), Leibold (knee), Rohr (muscular)
Coach: Tim Walter
Freiburg: Flekken - Schmid (Sildillia 90'+2), Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck, Günter (c) - Eggestein, Höfler - Sallai (Höler 64'), Jeong (Haberer 79'), Grifo (Weißhaupt 79') - Petersen (Demirovic 64')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Siquet, K. Schlotterbeck, Wagner
Out: Gulde (ill), Keitel (broken toe), Kübler (unconfirmed), Schade (abdominals)
Coach: Christian Streich
As it happened!
FREIBURG INTO THE FINAL!
Those three first-half goals are enough for Freiburg. They'll face the winner of Wednesday's semi-final between Leipzig in Union in their first ever major final. What an achievement!
Haberer sets up Höler, but he doesn't catch it right. That's surely it in Hamburg...
All-action stuff in Hamburg as Demirovic strikes the woodwork from 18 yards. Credit to HSV - they're leaving gaps, but not going out without a fight.
THAT'S ONE BACK!
Muheim delivers - quite literally! The Hamburg sub's cross is headed in by Glatzel. They couldn't, could they?
HSV's two most effective players - Suhonen and Jatta - have gone off. Attentions already turning to Saturday's trip to Regensburg in the league...
Weißhaupt makes his 12th senior appearance of the campaign. Can the 20-year-old winger add to his two assists in nine substitute Bundesliga outings? Haberer is also on for the visitors, who do not look like caving in the closing stages.
Hamburg have created openings this second half, with Suhonen and Jatta causing problems for Freiburg, but the end product just hasn't been there today.
A striker for a midfielder - Walter's team need a goal!
Another big chance goes begging for Hamburg. Glatzel cushions Vagnoman's pass into the feet of Kittel, who drives goalwards. Flekken sees it late, but manages to adjust his footing to make the stop.
A different threat for HSV to contend with as Demirovic and Höler joining the fray. Streich will be keen to keep goalscorer Petersen and Sallai fresh for Saturday's meeting with Gladbach...
Jatta has time to pick out a cross, but Kittel heads off target. Sums up HSV's efforts so far.
HSV LIVING DANGEROUSLY
Höfler blocks a pass from Heyer, with the ball ballooning over the top for Petersen. He goes or the lob, but Heuer Fernandes gets back to make the stop.
Schlotterbeck heads a clearance up to Jeong. He again releases Sallai, who fires into the side netting. HSV are applying pressure, inevitably leaving gaps for Freiburg to exploit.
Kittel flights a ball to the back post, where Jatta rises to head goalwards. Flekken gets in the way, though, to swat the ball behind. The Dutchman is first to the ensuing corner, too.
Schonlau gifts possession to Jeong, who only has eyes for Sallai. Reis uses his hand to deny the Hungarian a clear goal-scoring opportunity, and can have no complaints with the booking.
Freiburg have only lost seven times this season, and just once from a winning position.
Streich's side could not have asked for a better first 45. They've been absolutely ruthless in front of goal, and surely won't let their 3-0 lead slip now...
Hamburg think they're back in this as Suhonen collects from Glatzel and fires past Flekken, but the Freiburg defence were in perfect unison. He was clearly offside, as confirmed by the VAR.
GRIFO ON THE SPOT!
Grifo sends Heuer Fernandes the wrong way from the spot. That's his fourth DFB Cup goal of the season. Freiburg with a huge foot in the door of the final now...
Heyer tries to clear from Schlotterbeck, but does he get more of the man? The VAR thinks so... penalty to Freiburg!
NILS SAFE BET-ERSONPetersen's club record-extending 102nd goal for Freiburg might just be the veteran striker's most important yet...
© GETTY IMAGES
Kittel sends over a cross from the left. Suhonen's unmarked, but Flekken blocks with an outstretched leg. Should have scored.
STILL EARLY DOORS
Freiburg are controlling the play, but will be acutely aware how HSV came from 2-0 down to force extra time before prevailing on penalties in the previous round...
FREIBURG SCORE AGAIN!
HSV are caught with their [red] shorts down again. Heuer Fernandes passes out to Sallai, whose cross is blocked. Höfler takes on a shot from 18 yards, sending an unstoppable effort in off the unwitting Schonlau. Mountain to climb for the Dinos.
HSV don't clear their lines from a Grifo corner. Höfler forces a save from Heuer Fernandes, and Petersen reacts fastest to head in the rebound. There's a check for a possible offside against Sallai, but the goal stands.
HERE COME THE DINOS!
Hamburg respond as Jatta crosses for Glatzel, but he heads off target. Kittel leads the next charge, exchanging passes with Vagnoman, before firing tamely at Flekken. Fast start.
Grifo with the game's first corner. It's onto the head of Lienhart, who can't find the target. A warning for HSV - Freiburg are the Bundesliga's best team this season from set-pieces.
HERE WE GO!
The first of the DFB Cup semi-finals is under way!
The winner of the one-legged tie will face either RB Leipzig or Union Berlin in the final in Berlin on 21 May. HSV are three-time winners, but the remaining contenders are bidding to lift the trophy for the first time. Freiburg are the only semi-finalist for whom a final appearance would be a first.
Vincenzo Grifo has three DFB Cup goals this season, and is Freiburg’s 11-goal top scorer in all competitions. He also has seven assists. Robert Glatzel is currently on 22 league and cup goals for the campaign, including four in this season's competition.
THE STORY SO FAR
Freiburg overcame 3. Liga's Würzburger Kickers and Osnabrück in the opening rounds, the latter on penalties. Afer beating Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim 4-1 in the last 16, they scored a last-minute winner in extra time of their quarter-final with Bochum. Hamburg have been run closer still. After edging out third-tier Eintracht Braunschweig, the Dinos survived penalty shootouts against Nuremberg, Cologne and Karlsruhe to reach the last four.
FREIBURG NOT THINKING ABOUT THE FINAL... YET
"I haven’t been to Hamburg in a while, but always enjoy playing against HSV because they are a big club, one that I have childhood memories of as well," revealed Freiburg head coach Christian Streich. "It’s always something special to play there, but I won’t let myself get caught up in the emotions, I’m not a dreamer – instead, I have work to do, together with my colleagues."
HSV THE UNDERDOGS
"Freiburg are on their way to the Champions League and we are still fighting for promotion to the Bundesliga. We're the challenger, but we have a game plan that we're confident in," explained HSV head coach Tim Walter. "It will be difficult for our opponents to hold their own here in front of 57,000 spectators. One is the form on paper, the other is what happens on the pitch."
WATCH: HAMBURG 3-0 KARLSRUHEHamburg also produced three goals without reply in Bundesliga 2, but remain five points adrift of the promotion places with four games to go
WATCH: FREIBURG 3-0 BOCHUMJeong and Roland Sallai starred as Freiburg consolidated fifth place with a 3-0 win over Bochum on Saturday.
MORE ON THOSE TEAMS
Ludovit Reis and Sonny Kittel are back for Hamburg, with Faride Alidou and Mikkel Kaufmann making way. As for Freiburg, Jonathan Schmid starts in place of right-back Lukas Kübler, while Jeong Woo-yeong gets the nod over Lucas Höler in attacking midfield.
HAMBURG STARTING LINE-UP
Heuer Fernandes – Heyer, Vuskovic, Schonlau (c), Vagnoman – Meffert, Reis – Jatta, Kittel, Suhonen - Glatzel
Mickel, Gyamerah, Kinsombi, Chakvetadze, Kaufmann, Wintzheimer, Muheim, David, Alidou
FREIBURG STARTING LINE-UP
Flekken - Schmid, Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck, Günter (c) - Eggestein, Höfler - Sallai, Jeong, Grifo - Petersen
Uphoff, Siquet, Höler, Demirovic, Haberer, Sildillia, K. Schlotterbeck, Weißhaupt, Wagner
Bundesliga 2 club Hamburg stand in the way of Freiburg and a first ever DFB Cup final appearance. Stay tuned for live text coverage...