Hamburg 1-3 Freiburg: Streich's men reach first-ever cup final after phenomenal first-half display

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Freiburg reached the DFB-Pokal final for the first time in their history with a 3-1 semi-final win at second-tier Hamburg.

Goals from Nils Petersen, Nicolas Hofler, and Vincenzo Grifo fired Freiburg into a commanding half-time lead as the visitors produced a scintillating counter-attacking display.

The Bundesliga's third-best defensive outfit then held on comfortably after the break, despite Robert Glatzel providing a late consolation for the hosts, and Freiburg will meet either RB Leipzig or Union Berlin in next month's final.

11 years after first joining the visitors, head coach Christian Streich continues to make history, with Freiburg's dreams of cup glory and a top-four Bundesliga finish remaining in their sights.

Hamburg fell behind after just 11 minutes when Petersen headed home after a goalmouth scramble, with a quick VAR check ascertaining Roland Sallai was not interfering with play.

That goal gave Freiburg a huge boost, and they doubled their lead within five minutes when Hofler's long-range strike cannoned off Sebastien Schonlau and into the roof of the net.

Hamburg almost responded when Anssi Suhonen forced a save from Mark Flekken, but were out of the contest after 35 minutes when the VAR awarded Freiburg a bizarre penalty, with Vincenzo Grifo smashing home from the spot after Moritz Heyer clumsily kicked Nico Schlotterbeck in the neck.

Suhonen had a cool finish ruled out in a marginal offside call as Hamburg's nightmare half drew to a close, before Sallai rippled the side netting with a fierce strike shortly after the break.

The 2.Bundesliga team took the game to Freiburg in the second half, with Sonny Kittel's deflected volley drawing a decent save from Flekken after 67 minutes.

Hamburg were finally rewarded for their improvement when Glatzel nodded a consolation goal after 87 minutes, and Freiburg's Ermedin Demirovic struck a post from range as the visitors claimed a historic win.

What does it mean? Fantastic Freiburg reach new heights

Freiburg had never previously reached the German domestic cup final, losing to Stuttgart on their only previous semi-final appearance in 2013.

Streich's men, however, will compete for their first major trophy in May's final, and could beat their highest-ever Bundesliga finish of fifth (in 2012-13) as they continue to chase a top-four spot.

Cup hero Petersen sets the tone

With a packed Volksparkstadion producing a boisterous atmosphere, Freiburg needed an early goal to quell any nerves, and got one through Petersen's header. The 33-year-old has now scored 12 in the competition, with no other player scoring more (Alexander Iashvilli also has 12).

Visitors make fast start count

After putting their hosts to the sword before the break, Freiburg have now scored six first-half goals in their four DFB-Pokal games this season, with only RB Leipzig scoring as many in the competition.

Streich's team also became just the second to hit three first-half goals in an away DFB-Pokal semi-final. Bayern Munich are the other team to do so at Schalke in 1984.

Key Opta facts

- Freiburg reached the final despite playing away from home five times on the way. Werder Bremen last managed that in 2008-09, where they were also guests of Hamburg in the semi-finals.

- Hamburg have not been able to win any of their last five cup semi-finals. Wolfsburg were the last to do the same (five from 1999 to 2014).

- Freiburg is entering the DFB-Pokal final for the first time, becoming the 40th team to have reached the final at least once.

What's next?

Hamburg will look to revive their slim hopes of promotion from the 2.Bundesliga at Jahn Regensburg on Saturday, while Freiburg host Borussia Monchengladbach on the same day.

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