The Bundesliga enjoyed a bumper afternoon of stunning goals and penalty drama on Saturday with Hakan Calhanoglu's viciously swerving 40-metre free kick for Hamburg SV the pick of the bunch.
Borussia Moenchengladbach's Patrick Herrmann and Jonathan Schmid of Freiburg came close with spectacular efforts while history was made at Nuremberg as the game against Eintracht Braunschweig was the first in the league's 51-year history to feature three missed penalties.
Goals scored from close to the halfway line almost invariably feature a goalkeeper who is caught off his line and is left backpedalling as the ball sails over him and into the net.
The most remarkable thing about Calhanoglu's strike was that Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller was only two metres off his line, ready and waiting, when the Turkish Under-20 international lined up his shot.
Weidenfeller was without a defensive wall and seemed set to make a comfortable save as the ball flew in a straight line towards him, however it suddenly lurched away to his right about 10 metres out.
"I hit the free kick the same way I do in training all the time. I'm delighted I pulled it off," Calhanoglu told www.bundesliga.com.
The 20-year-old, in his first season with Hamburg after leaving third tier Karlsruhe, already boasts an impressive collection of free-kick goals.
Calhanoglu scored seven of them to help Karlsruhe win promotion last season and quickly made an impact at Hamburg with a majestic curling effort against Braunschweig in his fourth top-flight game.
That was followed by an outrageous dipping effort, measured at 38 metres, which hit the underside of the crossbar and went in off the goalkeeper's back against VfL Wolfsburg.
Herrmann's effort in Gladbach's 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim was not far behind as he lobbed the ball into the net after keeper Koen Casteels delivered a clearance straight to him 30 metres out.
Schmid curled a 30-metre shot into the top left-hand corner against Augsburg but it was not enough to prevent Freiburg losing 4-2 and dropping into the drop zone.
In a nervous relegation battle, visiting Braunschweig missed two penalties and Nuremberg one in a game the home team won 2-1.
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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2014 11:40:13 IST