Bundesliga: Leipzig snatch a point, Freiburg denied at the death by Hertha | Bundesliga | DW | 28.08.2016
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Bundesliga: Leipzig snatch a point, Freiburg denied at the death by Hertha

Last-gasp goals flowed as the two promoted sides kicked off their Bundesliga campaigns. Leipzig twice had to come from behind to snatch a draw at Hoffenheim, while Freiburg were scuppered by a late winner at Hertha.

The opening Bundesliga matchday of the 2016/17 season drew to a close with the German top flight's newcomers in action. Freiburg, second-division champions last term, travelled to the capital to face Hertha Berlin, while Hoffenheim hosted Bundesliga debutants RB Leipzig.

TSG Hoffenheim 2-2 RB Leipzig

(Rupp 55', Uth 83' - Kaiser 58', Sabitzer 90')

The only team from the former East Germany in the top flight, Leipzig were one of the most talked about clubs during the off season due to their wealthy owners, energy drink giant Red Bull.

It was therefore fitting that their first ever Bundesliga match was against another club with a corporate connection: Hoffenheim, who are backed by software entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp. Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick was in attendance, back to play against his former club.

The match started at a high tempo. Four minutes in, Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi made a superb double save, before his Hoffenheim counterpart Oliver Baumann had to be at his best to deny the visitors.

Leipzig went close to breaking the deadlock half an hour in when a cross by captain Dominik Kaiser was headed powerfully towards goal by Yusuf Paulsen.

But it was Hoffenheim who went ahead 10 minutes into the second half. The Leipzig defense failed to clear at a corner and Julian Rupp sent a deflected shot past Gulasci.

Hoffenheim’s lead lasted only three minutes before Kaiser converted an excellent cross by Stefan Ilsanker, with Baumann arguably at fault.

The Hoffenheim goalkeeper made amends 15 minutes later. Marcel Sabitzer took advantage of a scramble in the box and fired off a close-range shot, but Baumann made the save of the game to keep the scores level.

New Signings

But not for long. Sebastian Rudy won the ball in Hoffenheim’s own half in the 83rd minute, sped forward and released Mark Uth, who calmly placed the ball past the Leipzig keeper to put the home side back in front.

Leipzig refused to throw in the towel and Marcel Sabitzer struck from around five meters on 90 minutes to rescue a point.

After the whistle, Leipzig announced two new signings. Oliver Burke has joined on a five-year deal from English side Nottingham Forest and Rangnick expressed delight at the arrival of the coveted 19-year-old Scottish winger.

Brazilian defender Bernardo also joined from sister-club Red Bull Salzburg for an undisclosed fee.

Hertha BSC 2-1 SC Freiburg

(Darida 62', Schieber 90'+5 - Höfler 90'+3)

Berlin's magnificent Olympic Stadium was bathed in sunshine for Hertha's opening game of the campaign but the home fans had to sit through a goalless and rather turgid first half.

Hertha had the ball for more than 60 percent of the time, and had more shots on goal, but failed to capitalize on their dominance, while Christian Streich's men, second-division champions last season, did well to keep the hosts at bay.

Despite Hertha's dominance, the best opportunity in the first half fell to the visitors. Midfielder Maximilian Philipp dribbled past the defense and passed to Vincenzo Grifo inside the box, but the latter's shot was blocked by a wonderful sliding tackle by Hertha defender Peter Pekarik.

Hertha did manage to break the deadlock just after an hour when Vladimir Darida finished off a neat move to score his team's first goal of the season. The Czech midfielder received the ball after a one-touch pass by new captain Vedad Ibisevic, and his shot from about 20 meters arrowed into the bottom corner.

The match burst into life late on and Freiburg leveled three minutes into added time when Nicolas Höfler headed home at a corner.

However, Hertha still had time to snatch the three points, substitute Julian Schieber slotting the ball home from close range in a dramatic finish to an otherwise pedestrian affair.

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