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Super-sub Pohjanpalo nets treble in Leverkusen win


Berlin (AFP) – Substitute Joel Pohjanpalo scored a stunning second-half hat-trick as Bayer Leverkusen roared back to beat Hamburg 3-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while Borussia Moenchengladbach slumped to defeat at promoted Freiburg.

US international Bobby Wood gave Hamburg the lead just before the hour at the BayArena, but the introduction of Finland striker Pohjanpalo on 72 minutes swung the game dramatically in the home side’s favour.

The 21-year-old, who scored on his Bundesliga debut last month, equalised for Leverkusen within seven minutes of his arrival, but was far from done as he netted twice more in stoppage time to hand Roger Schmidt’s side their first points of the season.

Leverkusen begin their Champions League adventure when they host CSKA Moscow in the opening round of group stage matches next midweek, but Gladbach will have to recover quickly ahead of their trip to Manchester City after losing 3-1 at Freiburg. 

Thorgan Hazard, the younger brother of Chelsea star Eden, fired the visitors ahead 10 minutes before half-time, but two goals from Freiburg midfielder Maximilian Philipp turned the game on its head before Nils Petersen added a late third for Freiburg from the penalty spot.

Wolfsburg laboured to a 0-0 draw at home to Cologne, who were playing without injured goalkeeper Timo Horn, while Hertha Berlin picked up a second straight win as they defeated Ingolstadt through goals from Vedad Ibisevic and Julian Schieber.

Sandro Sirigu grabbed last-minute winner for Darmstadt in a 1-0 home victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, while Borussia Dortmund head to RB Leipzig in Saturday’s late game.

On Friday, Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich struck late goals in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win at Schalke as teenage Portugal star Renato Sanches made his debut for the Bavarian giants.

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