Vincenzo Grifo scored his seventh Bundesliga goal of the season as Freiburg extended their winning streak to four consecutive league games with a comprehensive 3-1 victory away to Hoffenheim on Matchday 14.
The Black Forest club went on the front foot right from kick-off and took the lead as early as the seventh minute when Baptiste Santamaria lashed in from a tight angle following Ermedin Demirovic’s flick-on. Matters soon went from bad to worse for Hoffenheim, with both Sebastian Rudy and Kevin Akpoguma substituted off with injuries inside the opening 20 minutes. The hosts struggled to shake off those early setbacks – and Freiburg were in an unforgiving mood, with Grifo coolly doubling the away side’s lead from the penalty spot after substitute Melayro Bogarde had handled inside the area. Freiburg put the outcome beyond all doubt just before half-time when Demirovic squirmed past Kevin Vogt as he drove into the right-hand side of the box, and his cross into the middle was inadvertently bundled over the line by Hoffenheim defender Kasim Adams.
To their credit, Hoffenheim came out fighting in the second half and refused to go into damage limitation mode. Instead, they focused on winning tackles in midfield and getting to the second balls first - and gradually some self-belief started to return. Sebastian Hoeneß’s charges were rewarded midway through the half when Ishak Belfodil teed up Ihlas Bebou to rifle in from the edge of the area, and they almost added a second moments later, only for Andrej Kramaric to head wide from a corner. That was about as good as it got for Hoffenheim though, with Freiburg quickly restoring order at the back before substitute Nils Petersen tested Oliver Baumann with a stinging drive from 20 yards and Grifo firing straight at the home goalkeeper from a similar position. A dipping long-range Robert Skov free-kick late on drew a rare save from Florian Müller, who was otherwise a spectator as Freiburg comfortably held on to continue their winning run.
- Santamaria scored his first Bundesliga goal from the first shot of the game.
- Early birds: this was the sixth time this season that Freiburg have scored in the opening 15 minutes.
- Grifo converted the seventh penalty of his Bundesliga career, and third this season.
- The Italy international has now equalled his personal-best tally of seven goals in a single campaign.
- Hoffenheim forward Bebou scored his third goal of the season, all of which have come since Matchday 9.
- Freiburg have picked up more points in their last six league outings than any other club (14), and are the only team to have won their last four on the trot.
Watch: Grifo: "I hope my good form continues"
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) – Akpoguma (Skov 17'), Adams, Vogt, Sessegnon - Rudy (Bogarde 12'), Samassekou (Dabbur 76'), Baumgartner - Bebou, Belfodil (Adamyan 76'), Kramaric
Unused subs: Pentke, Bruun Larsen, Gacinovic, John, Beier
Out: Bicakcic (knee), Geiger (hamstring), Grillitsch (abdominal muscle), Hübner (ankle), Kaderabek (muscular), Posch (suspended), Stafylidis (shoulder)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Freiburg: Müller - Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gulde - Schmid (Kübler 46'), Santamaria (Abrashi 85'), Höfler, Günter (c) - Kwon (Höler 65'), Demirovic (Petersen 65'), Grifo (Sallai 80')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Heintz, Jeong, Tempelmann
Out: Flekken (elbow), Itter (muscular)
Coach: Christian Streich