Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 0
(1 - 0)
Schalke 04
J. Lindstrøm (21), R. Borré (84), Buta (90)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15:30 Kickoffs: Frankfurt survive surprising test from Schalke, Freiburg routed by Wolfsburg, Union complete comeback win

The race for second place in the German Bundesliga tightens after an enthralling set of 15:30 kickoffs leave SC Freiburg, Eintracht Frankfurt, and 1. FC Union Berlin all tied up at 30 points apiece behind league-leaders FC Bayern München. 

Frankfurt ultimately beat Schalke 3-0 despite the last-placed team enjoying far more chances. Freiburg were rather unexpectedly destroyed by Wolfsburg 0-6. Union completed a spectacular 3-1 comeback win over Hoffenheim.
Visiting FC Schalke 04 provided hosts Eintracht Frankfurt with a stern test on Saturday afternoon at Deutsche Bank Park. A contest in which Schalke actually bested Frankfurt xG-wise (1.76 to 1.24) still ended in a 0-3 defeat, however, as the German Eagles were able to tack on two late goals. The SGE win propels Frankfurt to second-place in the table. Freiburg (loss) and Union Berlin (win) now share the space with the Rhein-Main Eagles after their own results.

Eintracht trainer Oliver Glasner deployed his usual 3-4-3 with all the reliable regulars in place. The only notable personnel change came in the form of Hrvoje Smolcic deputizing for the injured Tuta on the back-line. Schalke's Thomas Reis went with a 4-2-3-1. Newly acquired Finnish fullback Jere Uronen started on the left. Much-criticized Swedish attacker Jordan Larsson served as the ten. Exciting young Japanese prospect Soichiro Kazuki debuted on the right-wing.

The first chance of the match fell to the heavy favorites. French sensational Randal Kolo Muani sent a close-range effort just past the post in the 5th. Surprisingly enough, Glasner's men backed off somewhat after this and allowed their guests to act upon the ball. Kozuki found himself unfortunate not to have scored the opening goal when a solid effort was deflected into Kevin Trapp's arms just shy of the quarter-of-an-hour mark. Kozuki also missed from a tight angle in the 21st.

One minute after the Japanese newcomer missed his second effort, however, the Hessen hosts grabbed the lead. Kolo Muani unleashed Jesper Lindstrøm up the half-right in the 22nd. The Danish attacker easily shook off Henning Matriciani and supplied a splendid tight-angle finish for the 1-0 in the 22nd. The spry underdogs still generated the better chances over the duration of the opening 45. Simon Terrode forced Trapp to deflect a fingertip save off the bar and Kozuki himself struck the post around the half-hour-mark.

Just seconds after the restart, Kozuki again nearly had his first Bundesliga tally. The 22-year-old emphatically headed an Uronen free-kick cross goalwards. Trapp somehow managed to scrape the ball off the line with an amazing reaction save. Eintracht continued to have trouble containing their pesky and committed hosts. Latzka and Marius Bülter sent plenty of useful balls in the direction of lead-striker Terodde. The 2. Bundesliga legend nevertheless couldn't locate the proper finishing touch.

Eventually, the courageous Königsblauen began to fray. The Hessen hosts picked up the pace in the final 20 minutes. After several promising attacking charges, Mario Götze and Sebastian Rode put Lindstrøm through in the 84th. The Dane managed to set-up the recently subbed-on Rafael Santos Borré for the 2-0 and the game was decided. SGE debutant Auerilio Buta added a third as the match entered injury time.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, VfL Wolfsburg were able to dismantle visiting SC Freiburg fairly quickly in 6-0 rout. Patrick Wimmer scored inside of the opening minute, then set up striker Jonas Wind with a masterful assist before a half-hour had been played. Wind scored again before the half was out to give the Wolves a commanding 3-0 lead. Yannick Gerhardt, Ridle Baku, and Luca Waldschmidt then added goals later.

VfL Bochum were also able to achieve a comfortable 3-1victory over their guests, Hertha BSC, at the Ruhrstadion on the Castroper Straße. VfL striker Philipp Hofmann bagged a brace and newly-acquired defender Keven Schlotterbeck added a goal during a barely competitive affair in which Hertha looked especially poor. Suat Serdar pulled a late consolation goal shortly before time.

In Bruno Labbadia's debut match in charge of Stuttgart, the south German Swabians played visiting Mainz to a 1-1 draw. Union Berlin-Hoffenheim looked to end in the same scoreline, but surprise brace-scorer Danilho Doekhi snatched the 2-1 in the final minute of normal time. Jamie Leweling added a third at the death to cap a spectacular comeback victory for die Eisernen.

Union, Freiburg, and Eintracht are all now tied for third-place. So they shall remain after the weekend's action has concluded. Borussia Dortmund have a chance to inch closer, but not overtake, against in their home fixture against Augsburg tomorrow.

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