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Sports

Hamburg and Freiburg battle to relegation draw

Friday's Bundesliga match was a relegation fight featuring Hamburg and Freiburg. The visitors had the better chances but were undone by their wastefulness in front of goal. Hamburg clawed out a late 1-1 draw.

Hamburg 1-1 Freiburg

(Kacar 90' - Mehmedi 25')

A single point separated Hamburg in 14th and Freiburg in 16th going into this match. So all the clichés about this being a contest that both relegation-threatened sides absolutely had to win were true.

To their credit, visitors Freiburg came out the more aggressive side, putting their hosts under pressure with good pressure high up the pitch. Hamburg had their keeper to thank for not going behind inside 18 minutes. A loose ball fell to Felix Klaus close in, but Rene Adler showed quick reflexes.

Freiburg keeper Roman Bürki did him one better six minutes later, diving across goal and somehow getting a toe to a stiff shot by Zoltan Stieber.

One minute later, the ball was in the net at the other end of the pitch. Johann Djourou lost track of Admir Mehmedi, and the Freiburg striker blasted it over Adler's head. That gave the visitors a 1-0 halftime lead.

After the break, Freiburg remained the more ambitious side. Klaus drew another alert save from Adler, but clear-cut chances were few and far between. No fewer than three Friburg players came down with cramps, so coach Christian Streich was forced to use his substitutions a bit earlier than he may have liked.

Ten minutes from time, Djourou was in the positive spotlight, as he made a fanatstic sliding clearance to prevent Nils Petersen from doubling Freiburg's advantage. Freiburg have suffered all season from profligacy, and as the match wore on, they had to wonder whether they'd be punished again for squandering chances.

The answer was yes. With the final second of regular time running out, Rafael van der Vaart put in a corner, and after some confusion, Gojko Kacar beat Bürki to the ball and headed in from centimeters out.

And that was that. Hamburg remain in 14th, one point ahead of Freiburg in 15th. But both could lose ground in the table depending on the rest of the round 32 results.

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