Freiburg up to second as World Cup looms

The last Bundesliga game before a long World Cup break has brought plenty of drama as Vincenzo Grifo scored a hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes to fire Freiburg to second place with a 4-1 win over Union Berlin.

Bayern Munich go into the two-month break - by far the longest in the main European leagues - with a four-point advantage over Freiburg.

Union are fifth and have not won in three games after having led the league in recent weeks.

VAR played a key role in the battle between two teams which have emerged as surprise challengers at the top of the table this season, but lost momentum recently amid busy Europa League schedules.

There were two penalties for each team and a red card for Union which ended any hope of a comeback.

Going into the break as Bayern's closest challengers and firm contenders for Champions League qualification is the latest step in years of steady and occasionally spectacular growth for Freiburg, a team from southwest Germany, which narrowly missed out on lifting the German Cup in a penalty shootout last season.

As at many other stadiums across Germany this weekend, Freiburg's fans displayed banners calling for a boycott of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Slogans displayed around the stadium ahead of kick-off decried the Gulf state's record on human rights.

Eintracht Frankfurt started the day with a shot at taking second place if they won and Freiburg and Union drew, but instead dropped points in a combative 1-1 draw at Mainz.

Mainz took the lead when Jonathan Burkardt bundled the ball in at a corner after a fine double save from Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Back in the Germany team for the World Cup for the first time since 2017, Mario Gotze played a fine pass to set up Randal Kolo Muani to level the game for Frankfurt.