BERLIN – Freiburg came from three goals down to win Sunday’s thrilling Bundesliga basement battle 4-3 at Cologne as visiting striker Nils Petersen wrapped up his hat trick with a 95th-minute penalty.
A heavy overnight snowfall created testing conditions at bottom side Cologne, but the hosts charged into a 3-0 lead with just half an hour gone.
Lukas Kluenter hit the bottom right-hand corner after eight minutes, then French striker Sehrou Guirassy converted a 16th-minute penalty only after the referee struggled to find the spot under the snow.
Freiburg’s USA midfielder Caleb Stanko turned the ball into his own net to make it 3-0 with 29 minutes gone and Cologne were on course for their first win this season.
However, ex-Bayern striker Petersen offered Freiburg faint hope by pulling a goal with a superb volley direct from a cross just before halftime.
Then with an hour gone, midfielder Janik Haberer put Freiburg back in the game with a bullet header from a corner.
Petersen equalised in the 90th minute by converting his first penalty, and grabbed an unlikely win for Freiburg by drilling home a second spot-kick just before the final whistle after a handball from Guirassy.
“I thought I had wandered into the wrong film, the way we conceded goals at the start,” said Freiburg’s eccentric coach Christian Streich.
“Then we changed ends and got our chances.
“The team showed enormous will and a tolerance to frustration at the end.”
Freiburg are now 16th in the table, still in the relegation places.
“That’s very bitter, we started really well and did a lot of things right,” said Cologne’s caretaker coach Stefan Ruthenbeck.
“There are no excuses, the team gave their all, but we lost because we couldn’t maintain the intensity, and that’s a fact.”
The defeat broke Cologne hearts, leaving them winless after their first 15 matches and 12 points from safety in their first league games since cult coach Peter Stoeger was sacked last weekend.
Stoeger was named new coach of Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, a day after they crashed 2-1 at home to Werder Bremen, their eighth league game without a win, which cost Stoeger’s predecessor Peter Bosz his job.
Later, mid-table Hanover 96 enjoyed a 2-0 win in heavy falling snow at home to Hoffenheim as Niclas Fuellkrug and Martin Harnik scored their goals.
Under Julian Nagelsmann, Germany’s coach of the year in 2016, Hoffenheim have now dropped eight points in their last four games to fall to sixth.
The weekend's results at a glance 👀
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Augsburg missed the chance to go fourth with a 1-1 draw at home to Hertha Berlin.
Brazilian winger Caiuby put Augsburg ahead 16 minutes from time with a superb shot, only for Ivory Coast veteran Salomon Kalou to rescue Hertha with a 91st-minute equaliser.
On Saturday, leaders Bayern Munich went eight points clear with a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt after second-placed RB Leipzig conceded a late equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Mainz.