FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Hakan Calhanoglu crowned an outstanding performance by scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 victory for Hamburger SV over fellow Bundesliga straggler Nuremberg on Sunday.
In the late match, Freiburg won 4-1 in Frankfurt, executing a counter-attacking game plan to perfection for an important victory against relegation.
Calhanoglu, a 20-year-old midfielder, had several attempts foiled by Raphael Schaefer but the Nuremberg goalkeeper was helpless when Calhanoglu’s shot was slightly deflected into the roof of the net in 80th.
An own goal by Mike Frantz, who also deflected Calhanoglu’s shot, sealed Nuremberg’s fate in the 86th despite a strike in injury time by Josip Drmic. Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler saved the victory by turning away Jose Campana’s free kick, the last shot of the lively match.
“I think I aged three years, the ball just didn’t want to go into their net,” Adler said.
Both teams had plenty of chances and hit the woodwork, and both goalkeepers produced superb saves.
Javier Pinola cleared on the line a header from Jacques Zoua in the 71st to save Nuremberg from falling behind, but Hamburg’s pressure paid off when Calhanoglu buried his ninth goal of the season.
Hamburg escaped from the relegation zone and jumped over Nuremberg into 14th place, both on 23 points.
Frankfurt stayed three points above Hamburg but failed to create a bigger gap to the danger zone. Freiburg moved past Stuttgart into 16th, which means a playoff for a place in the top division.
Frankfurt wasted nearly a dozen chances, especially in the first half, while Freiburg made the most out of its few.
Freiburg’s goalkeeper Oliver Baumann made a series of fine saves and his team’s speedy forwards created havoc on the opposite side.
Julian Schuster’s superb overhead kick - the visiting side’s first attempt on target, gave Freiburg the lead in the 34th and Karim Guede doubled the advantage in the 54th with a clinical finish after another fast break.
Eintracht got back into the match briefly after Joselu pulled one back in the 59th. Baumann blocked his first attempt but Joselu followed through with a header, only to see Felix Klaus restore the two-goal cushion in the 70th. Guede completed the victory in injury time with his second, after another counter-attack.
On Saturday, Bayern extended its league record unbeaten run to 50 games and moved 23 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with nine games remaining by beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1.
Borussia Dortmund lost 2-1 to Borussia Moenchengladbach, meaning Bayern can secure the title at Mainz next week if Dortmund and Schalke, 24 points behind in third, both fail to win.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.