Freiburg’s Japanese winger Ritsu Doan scored late to secure a 2-1 home win over under-pressure Hoffenheim on Sunday, lifting his side up to fourth in the Bundesliga.
RB Leipzig’s 3-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday had pushed Freiburg out of the top four heading into the match.
Trying to keep on track for their first ever taste of Champions League football, Freiburg scored early through Maximilian Eggestein, who pounced on a loose ball after a swerving delivery from Vincenzo Grifo.
Hoffenheim hit back early in the second half thanks to a low drive from midfielder Angelo Stiller.
Hoffenheim defender Ozan Kabak picked up a second yellow card with six minutes remaining for throwing the ball away, handing Freiburg the advantage in the closing stages.
Doan took the initiative and scored in the 89th minute, threading the ball into the corner of the net to give the home side a valuable victory.
Frustrated Hoffenheim ‘keeper Oliver Baumann said the red card was the “turning point”, telling Sky “we simply can’t end a match like this with 10 men”.
Hoffenheim’s loss leaves them stranded alone on the bottom of the table on 19 points and in danger of relegation for the first time since their promotion in 2008.
Bayer Leverkusen kept their unlikely push for European football going, winning 3-2 at Werder Bremen thanks to goals from Mitchel Bakker, Jeremie Frimpong and Adam Hlozek.
Leverkusen were dealt a blow before kick-off when star midfielder Florian Wirtz and striker Patrik Schick were ruled out with tiredness and injury respectively.
Bremen’s Marvin Ducksch opened the scoring midway through the opening half but Leverkusen equalised just four minutes later through Bakker.
The visitors hit Bremen on the counter 10 minutes into the second half, Dutch defender Frimpong finishing off a length-of-the-field move to give his side the lead.
Leverkusen looked to have wrapped up the match when Hlozek glanced in a superb header from another counter attack to make it 3-1 with seven minutes remaining, but a late Niclas Fuellkrug penalty gave the home side hope of snaring a point.
Bremen continued to push but Leverkusen held on, chalking up their fourth win in their past five matches in all competitions.
Later on Sunday, Union Berlin can jump back up to third with a win away at Wolfsburg.
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