Berlin: Iceland international Alfred Finnbogason marked his return from injury with a hat-trick as Augsburg eased to a 4-1 win over Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Having been sidelined with a knee injury since August, Finnbogason delivered a sparkling performance in his first appearance of the season to fire Augsburg up to eighth in the table.
"I wanted to play only when I felt fully fit, and I was obviously very excited because I knew how important this game could be," Finnbogason told Sky. "We wanted to show that we are difficult to beat at home."
Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow was forced into two excellent saves in the opening exchanges, but he could do nothing to stop Caiuby’s powerful header on 19 minutes.
A dominant Augsburg doubled the lead 15 minutes later, as Jeffrey Gouweleeuw and Michael Gregoritsch sliced through the Freiburg defence and Finnbogason completed the move with a delicate backheel flick.
Medical staff were called into action after a member of the crowd reportedly suffered a heart attack cardiac arrest during the first half, and the game resumed under a sombre atmosphere after half-time.
A bizarre own goal brought Freiburg back into the game after the break, as Martin Hinteregger's desperate goal-line clearance rebounded against teammate Jonathan Schmid and into the Augsburg net.
Briefly revived, Freiburg were eventually sunk by Finnbogason's second, the Icelander coolly converting the penalty after being tripped in the box by Dominique Heintz.
Seven minutes from time, Finnbogason turned in Andre Hahn's low cross to complete his hat-trick.
Earlier on Sunday, Ante Rebic scored one goal and created another to inspire Eintracht Frankfurt to a 4-1 victory over bottom club Hanover 96.
Rebic caused havoc in the Hanover defence all afternoon as Frankfurt eased to a much-needed second win of the season and lifted themselves away from the bottom three.
Hanover are rooted to the bottom with a meagre two points from six matches.
Evan N'Dicka gave Frankfurt the lead on 36 minutes, as Hanover lost the ball too easily in their own half, and Ndicka latched onto Sebastien Haller's looping header to score his first ever Bundesliga goal.
More hapless defending from Hanover saw Frankfurt double the lead on the stroke of half-time, Rebic twisting away from Oliver Sorg to slot the ball past goalkeeper Michael Esser.
The visitors started the second half brightly, but shot themselves in the foot once again when Waldemar Anton allowed Rebic to break free in the final third. The Croatian squared the ball to Jonathan De Guzman, who tapped it into an open goal for Frankfurt's third.
"Ante did a great job today," said De Guzman. "We wanted to score goals, and the win will give us a lot of confidence."
Hanover clawed one back four minutes from time, Florent Muslija turning in Bobby Wood's cross to score a consolation goal on his Bundesliga debut.
The visitors' brief resistance was crushed moments later, however, as Luka Jovic danced through the Hanover back line to squeeze the ball past Esser.
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Updated Date: Oct 01, 2018 10:04:46 IST