Berlin (AFP) – Ivory Coast veteran Salomon Kalou rescued Hertha Berlin with a penalty at the second attempt in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Freiburg in the Bundesliga.
Hosts Freiburg took the lead on 52 minutes when the video assistant referee (VAR) confirmed Christian Guenter had been fouled in the penalty area and Janik Haberer drilled home from the spot.
At the other end, Kalou fired his first penalty effort over the bar on 77 minutes after Berlin midfielder Arne Maier was brought down in the area.
However just four minutes later, Kalou took his chance to make amends by converting a spot kick after a second penalty was awarded to Berlin.
The VAR spotted Hertha’s Davie Selke had been fouled in the area and ex-Chelsea striker Kalou made no mistake this time.
“I said to our manager, ‘I think we’re jinxed’ after Salomon missed the first penalty, but then he had the balls to take the second one and convert it,” said Hertha coach Pal Dardai.
With time almost up, both teams had clear chances.
Hertha’s Austria international Valentino Lazaro forced Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow into a reflex save with ten minutes left.
Then a freekick by Freiburg’s Julian Schuster was palmed onto the crossbar by Berlin goalkeeper Rune Jarstein just before the final whistle.
The point was Hertha’s second in their last four games to go 11th while Freiburg climbed out of the bottom three to 15th at the expense of Hamburg, who lost 1-0 at home to Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Bayern are level with leaders Borussia Dortmund on 20 points, but stay second on goal difference after Corentin Tolisso scored their winner while Hamburg’s Gideon Jung was sent off on 40 minutes for fouling Kingsley Coman.
Dortmund threw away a two-goal lead in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt as goals by Nuri Sahin and Maximilian Philipp were cancelled out by Sebastien Haller and Marius Wolf
Earlier on Sunday, Cologne and Werder Bremen remain in the relegation places after their goalless draw.
Cologne’s Claudio Pizarro, the highest scoring foreign striker in the Bundesliga’s history, picked up an injury before kick-off and the 39-year-old had to sit out the home clash against his former club.
Both sides had several chances – Cologne shaded the shots on goal with 18 compared to Bremen’s 13.
“It’s difficult, that was something for vegetarians – it wasn’t meat or fish, so it’s hard to know where to start,” said Cologne coach Peter Stoeger.
“The guys have everything, there was passion.
“We can moan as much as we want, but there were enough chances.”
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