Freiburg beat Wolfsburg to boost Champions League hopes


Nils Petersen of SC Freiburg celebrates scoring his teams third goal of the game which was then cancelled leaving the score at 2-0 during the Bundesliga match between Sport-Club Freiburg and VfL Wolfsburg at Europa-Park Stadion on May 19, 2023 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

With a slice of luck and a goal from a retiring fan favourite, Freiburg have beaten Wolfsburg 2-0 in the Bundesliga to stay in contention to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

Playing his last home game before retiring at the end of the season, striker Nils Petersen came off the bench to score in the 75th minute on Friday to take the game away from Wolfsburg – his first goal of the season.

His strike came after Christian Gunter gave Freiburg the lead with a fortunate deflected shot that looped over the goalkeeper.

Freiburg stayed fifth, outside the four Champions League spots, despite the win but it ensured the team from the Black Forest in south-western Germany will have a chance of qualifying for Europe’s top competition on the final day of the Bundesliga next week.

Freiburg were a point off third-placed Leipzig, who can secure a Champions League spot if they stun leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday, and level on points with Union Berlin, who play Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Petersen’s goal was greeted with a roar from the Freiburg crowd. The experienced forward has been a Freiburg player since 2015, scoring 105 times in all competitions, and holds the Bundesliga record for most goals as a substitute with 34.

Petersen thought he’d also scored a second goal in the 80th but video review showed a teammate had trodden on an opponent’s foot in the build-up and the referee called play back for a foul to jeers from the stands.

Freiburg held on after midfielder Nicolas Hofler was sent off in added time for a reckless tackle.

Wolfsburg, who created few chances, dropped to seventh behind Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference.

Darmstadt will be back in the Bundesliga next season for the first time since 2017 after beating Magdeburg 1-0 in their second-division game.

That assured Darmstadt of finishing in one of the two promotion places, and they’ll be second-division champions if second-placed Heidenheim don’t beat Sandhausen on Saturday.

It will be the fourth stint in the Bundesliga for Darmstadt, whose best result was 14th in 2016.

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