Nils Petersen maintains Freiburg’s best ever start with victory over Hertha Berlin

Supersub Nils Petersen scored a brilliant overhead kick to help Freiburg continue their best ever start to a season in a 2-1 victory away to Hertha Berlin.

Hertha 1-2 Freiburg
Goals: 0-1 Lienhart (17'), 1-1 Piatek (70'), 1-2 Petersen (78')

After their heavy 6-0 defeat by RB Leipzig last week Hertha were determined to make amends and, despite sitting back deeply, initially looked threatening going forward. Suat Serdar strode forward in midfield and threaded a superb pass through to Stevan Jovetic, but a last-ditch tackle from Manuel Gulde prevented him from getting a shot away. Jovetic was involved again a short while later with a curling free-kick, but goalkeeper Mark Flekken reacted well to save for a corner. Freiburg gradually grew into the game and took advantage of Hertha’s vulnerability at set-pieces to take the lead from a corner, Philipp Lienhart heading in at the front post from Christian Günter’s delivery. They remained on top for the rest of the half, but were unable to create any further clear-cut chances.

The visitors took their superiority into the second 45 minutes and got behind the Hertha defence two or three times early on, but lacked precision with their final ball. Home coach Pal Dardai made several changes as he plotted a way back into the game, and by the 64th minute he had used up all five substitutes. It proved to be a masterstroke as two of the newcomers combined to equalise, with Maximilian Mittelstädt’s outstanding first-time cross from the left catching Freiburg napping and allowing Kryzsztof Piatek to tap in from close range. Fellow substitute Jurgen Ekkelenkamp hit the bar moments later – a miss that would eventually prove costly. Petersen came off the bench and the Bundesliga’s record substitute goalscorer found the net just 104 seconds later, burying a bicycle kick from close range to put the seal on Freiburg’s fourth win of the campaign.

Match stats

  • Hertha have now conceded a league-high eight goals from dead-ball situations this season.
  • They have also let in five headed goals, more than any other Bundesliga team apart from Greuther Fürth (also five).
  • Petersen scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season, extending his record-breaking tally off the bench to 30.
  • Lienhart has scored all five of his Bundesliga goals from set-pieces, four of them headers. Today's goal was his first away from home.
  • Günter picked up his second assist of the campaign; his first was also from a corner (against Stuttgart on Matchday 3).
  • Piatek scored his first goal of the season with his first shot on his first league appearance in 2021/22.

Watch: Petersen: "We have good strength in depth"


Hertha: Schwolow - Stark, Boyata (c), M. Dardai (Piatek 46') - Richter (Ekkelenkamp 58'), Tousart, Boateng (Jastrzembski 58'), Plattenhardt - Serdar, Jovetic (Mittelstädt 64') - Selke (Pekarik 46')
Unused subs: Christensen, Darida, Belfodil, Ascacibar
Out: Gechter (groin), Klünter (shoulder), Maolida (hamstring), Torunarigha (thigh), Zeefuik (groin)
Coach: Pal Dardai 

Freiburg: Flekken - Gulde, Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck - Kübler (Haberer 84'), Eggestein (Keitel 62'), Höfler, Günter (c) - Jeong (Sallai 76'), Höler (Demirovic 76'), Grifo (Petersen 76')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Schade, Heintz, K. Schlotterbeck
Out: Schmid (match fitness)
Coach: Christian Streich