With a slice of luck and a goal from a retiring fan favorite, Freiburg beat Wolfsburg 2-0 in the Bundesliga on Friday 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 to take the game away from Wolfsburg — his first goal of the season — after Christian Günter 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 southwestern Germany will have a chance of qualifying for Europe’s top competition on the final day of the Bundesliga next week.
Freiburg was a point off third-placed Leipzig, which can secure a Champions League spot if it stuns leader Bayern Munich on Saturday, and level on points with Union Berlin, which plays 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 scored a second goal in the 80th but video review showed a teammate had trodden on an opponent’s foot in the buildup and the referee called play back for a foul to jeers from the stands.
Freiburg held on after midfielder Nicolas Höfler was sent off in added time for a reckless tackle. Wolfsburg, which 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 its second-division game. That assured Darmstadt of finishing in one of the two promotion places, and it will be second-division champion if second-placed Heidenheim doesn’t beat Sandhausen on Saturday. It will be the fourth stint in the Bundesliga for Darmstadt, whose best result was 14th in 2016.