Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Leverkusen reaches Champions League, Union stuns Freiburg

Patrik Schick scored twice to shoot Bayer Leverkusen into the Champions League with a 4-2 win at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Union Berlin stunned Freiburg 4-1 to dampen its Champions League hopes. Union secured at least a place in the Europa Conference League for the second season in a row after already achieving its best Bundesliga season. Sixth-placed Union, which was promoted only in 2019, has a two-point lead over Cologne in their tussle for Europa League qualification. Cologne lost at home to Wolfsburg 1-0.
Also, second-placed Borussia Dortmund defeated already relegated Greuther Fürth 3-1 away in Stefan Leitl’s last game as Fürth coach. Leitl, who led the team to promotion last season, is leaving after 3 1/2 years in charge.
Leverkusen was made to work hard for its result against Hoffenheim, which was hoping to keep its European qualification chances alive.
Schick scored twice to take his season tally to 24 in 26 league appearances. Leverkusen twice came from behind to secure third place, irrespective of what happens in its final game against Freiburg next weekend. The top four in Germany qualify for the Champions League.
Freiburg’s defeat at home to Union gave Leipzig the chance to move to fourth by avoiding defeat at home to Augsburg on Sunday.
Freiburg, which also faces Leipzig in the German Cup final on May 21, was rocked by three first-half goals from Union.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich was booked for his furious reaction to an apparent infringement though it was unclear what it was.
Streich’s team pushed hard after the break and duly pulled one back. But Union substitute Andras Schäfer sealed the result with a fine individual goal in the last minute.
Cologne made a furious start against Wolfsburg but failed to score and was caught out before the break when Yannick Gerhardt finished off a team move from the visitors.
Cologne fans stormed the pitch in celebration of a good season despite the loss. Cologne captain Jonas Hector, who was lying on the field in disappointment, quickly left.
Hertha Berlin could secure its survival with a win at home over Mainz late.

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