Germany: DFB Pokal
1 - 3
(0 - 3)
R. Glatzel (88)
N. Petersen (11), N. Höfler (17), V. Grifo (35)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Freiburg best HSV to reach first ever Cup Final

Breisgau's famed "Sport Club" have attained the DFB Pokal final for the first time in the club's long history. 

With brutal efficiency, the Bundesliga's current fifth-placed-club dismantled opponents HSV early before a sold-out crowd at the Volksparkstadion.
SC Freiburg are through to their very first domestic club final in the 118-year-history of the club. In a trip to a sold-out Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, the Breisgauer remained calm and clinical in front of goal early in the match. A 3-0 lead within barely a half hour played proved too much for opponents HSV to overcome.

One enforced change from SCF trainer Christian Streich saw Jonathan Schmid replace the ill Lukas Kübler at the right fullback position. Streich's Breisgauer operated in a 4-2-3-1 distinctly different from the 4-4-1-1 seen in recent weeks. Head-coach Tim Walter lined the HSV up in a 4-3-3, with Sonny Kettel and Ludoveit Reis stepping into the XI for Faride Alidou and Mikkel Kaufmann.

The top flight guests immediately put their hosts under pressure, barely allowing the 2. Bundesliga side any time on the ball. Walter's men were nevertheless able to get a promising attack rolling in the 5th. Lead-striker Robert Glatzel headed wide of goal. The game proceeded at high tempo, with both sides taking risks on the charge. The opening goal in the 11th came off a corner.

Hamburg found themselves unable to clear a Vincenzo Grifo service. After several failed attempts to get the ball away, Nicolas Höfler located Nils Petersen free at the far post. The Freiburg striker headed home emphatically. After a brief VAR review to check whether HSV keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes was screened by an offside Roland Sallai, the goal was allowed to stand.

Somewhat rattled, the Hanseatic hosts had trouble building up attacks without committing passing errors. It seemed only a matter of time before they were punished for such mistakes. Heuer Fernandes turned the ball over to the SCF attack in the 17th. After some slapstick slapdash, Höfler was able to bang in a deflection off HSV defender Sebastian Schonlau. The mood at the Volksparkstadion was significantly dampened after the 0-2.

As hard as the home tried to mount a response, the finishing quality simply wasn't there. Midfielder Anssi Suhonen couldn't lift his shot above Freiburg keeper Mark Flekken in the 26th. Freiburg would seal the 3-0 some 18 minutes later when a VAR review confirmed that HSV fullback Moritz Heyer had recklessly fouled Nico Schlotterbeck in the box. Grifo duly converted to give Freiburg a commanding lead in the 35th.

Three minutes after that, Hamburg thought that they had pulled one back. Suhonen was regrettably offside. Freiburg calmly killed the half off with spread possession. The start of the second half was largely marred by fouls and stoppages. Freiburg's Sallai pulled the best chance out of the disjointed game, hitting the side netting in the 54th.

HSV attacks--which were numerous down the right side of Gambian attacker Bakery Jatta--didn't produce much thanks to disciplined defending from the Freiburg defensive ranks and some brave positional play from keeper Mark Flekken. The traveling Freiburg fan contingent decided it was safe to start signing about their future trip to Berlin around the hour mark.

The hosts maintaining solid penetrative play up the flanks, yet found themselves continually frustrated by the fact that target occupation in the box remained suboptimal. Finally Glatzel was able to salvage some pride from his miss in the opening minutes by heading home a consolation goal in the 88th.

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