FREIBURG, Germany: Freiburg's Vincenzo Grifo scored the earliest Bundesliga hat-trick in 31 years to lead his team to a 4-1 victory over 10-man Union Berlin on Sunday (Nov 13), pipping them to the post for second place at the start of the Bundesliga's World Cup break.
The Italy international opened his account after four minutes with a well-struck penalty before doubling their lead only two minutes later when he launched and then completed a quick break with Michael Gregoritsch.
Union had a chance to pull a goal back when they earned their own spot kick in the ninth minute but Robin Knoche hit the post, and to make matters worse for the visitors, Diogo Leite was sent off for a last-man foul a little later, earning Freiburg another penalty.
Grifo again stepped up to convert it and complete his first ever Bundesliga hat-trick in the 20th minute while taking his season tally to nine league goals.
Gregoritsch turned from provider to scorer on the stroke of halftime, chipping the ball over the Union keeper to put the game to bed.
Freiburg, playing their best ever Bundesliga season, moved up to 30 points, four behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Union, who have managed just one win from their last five matches, dropped to fifth on 27. They are level with fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, while RB Leipzig are in third on 28.
The Bundesliga goes into a prolonged break following this weekend’s matches due to the start of the World Cup in Qatar next weekend and will resume on Jan 20.