German football great Uwe Seeler has died at the age of 85.

Seeler spent his 19-year playing career, spanning from 1953 to 1972, with Hamburg and is considered the greatest player in the German club's history.

He also earned 72 caps for West Germany and played in their 1966 World Cup final defeat to England.

The news of Seeler's death was confirmed by Hamburg, where he also worked as president for three years in the 1990s, in a statement on their official website.

"Uwe stands for everything that characterises a good person: down-to-earthness, loyalty, joie de vivre, plus he was always approachable," said HSV board member Jonas Boldt.

"He is the epitome of HSV. I personally have special memories of our get-together on his last birthday. He talked shop, asked about his HSV, gave me tips and a few sayings.

"We will never forget him and will always cherish him. Now our thoughts and sympathy go out to Uwe's family, to whom we extend our heartfelt condolences."

Seeler scored 507 goals in 587 competitive matches for Hamburg, the club said, and he was made an honorary citizen of the city in 2003.

He was crowned German footballer of the year in 1959-1960, 1963-1964 and 1969-1970, while also winning the German top-flight title in the first of those campaigns.

One of four players to have scored at four separate World Cups, along with Pele, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo, Seeler became just the second honorary captain of the German national team in 1972.

The German Football Association (DFB) paid tribute to the striker, who Hamburg said was survived by wife Ilka as well as three daughters and seven grandchildren. 

"Rest in peace Uwe Seeler," the DFB tweeted. "Our honorary captain passed away at the age of 85. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to his family and loved ones."

Marvin Plattenhardt's second-half free-kick preserved Hertha Berlin's Bundesliga status as they fought back to beat Hamburg 2-1 on aggregate.

Hamburg won the first leg 1-0 last week, but they will remain in 2. Bundesliga after Felix Magath's side consigned them to a 2-0 defeat at Volksparkstadion on Monday.

Captain Dedryck Boyata levelled the play-off when he rose to head Plattenhardt's corner into the back of the net only four minutes in.

Hertha were in front after 63 minutes, when Plattenhardt's set-piece from wide on the right flew over Hamburg goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes and into the far corner of the net.

Stevan Jovetic could have sealed it when he went one-on-one with Fernandes but was denied by the keeper.

That miss did not prove to be costly as Hertha held on to remain in the top flight despite Lucas Tousart's stoppage-time sending off for a second bookable offence on a painful night for Hamburg.

There was a brief celebration from Magath, who was appointed as Hertha head coach until the end of the season in March, after his side stayed up at the expense of a club where he had great success as a player and also served as a coach.

Hamburg have been in the second tier since they dropped out of the Bundesliga for the first time in their history four years ago.

Freiburg reached the DFB-Pokal final for the first time in their history with a 3-1 semi-final win at second-tier Hamburg.

Goals from Nils Petersen, Nicolas Hofler, and Vincenzo Grifo fired Freiburg into a commanding half-time lead as the visitors produced a scintillating counter-attacking display.

The Bundesliga's third-best defensive outfit then held on comfortably after the break, despite Robert Glatzel providing a late consolation for the hosts, and Freiburg will meet either RB Leipzig or Union Berlin in next month's final.

11 years after first joining the visitors, head coach Christian Streich continues to make history, with Freiburg's dreams of cup glory and a top-four Bundesliga finish remaining in their sights.  

Hamburg fell behind after just 11 minutes when Petersen headed home after a goalmouth scramble, with a quick VAR check ascertaining Roland Sallai was not interfering with play.

That goal gave Freiburg a huge boost, and they doubled their lead within five minutes when Hofler's long-range strike cannoned off Sebastien Schonlau and into the roof of the net.

Hamburg almost responded when Anssi Suhonen forced a save from Mark Flekken, but were out of the contest after 35 minutes when the VAR awarded Freiburg a bizarre penalty, with Vincenzo Grifo smashing home from the spot after Moritz Heyer clumsily kicked Nico Schlotterbeck in the neck.

Suhonen had a cool finish ruled out in a marginal offside call as Hamburg's nightmare half drew to a close, before Sallai rippled the side netting with a fierce strike shortly after the break.

The 2.Bundesliga team took the game to Freiburg in the second half, with Sonny Kittel's deflected volley drawing a decent save from Flekken after 67 minutes.

Hamburg were finally rewarded for their improvement when Glatzel nodded a consolation goal after 87 minutes, and Freiburg's Ermedin Demirovic struck a post from range as the visitors claimed a historic win.

What does it mean? Fantastic Freiburg reach new heights

Freiburg had never previously reached the German domestic cup final, losing to Stuttgart on their only previous semi-final appearance in 2013. 

Streich's men, however, will compete for their first major trophy in May's final, and could beat their highest-ever Bundesliga finish of fifth (in 2012-13) as they continue to chase a top-four spot.

Cup hero Petersen sets the tone

With a packed Volksparkstadion producing a boisterous atmosphere, Freiburg needed an early goal to quell any nerves, and got one through Petersen's header. The 33-year-old has now scored 12 in the competition, with no other player scoring more (Alexander Iashvilli also has 12).

Visitors make fast start count

After putting their hosts to the sword before the break, Freiburg have now scored six first-half goals in their four DFB-Pokal games this season, with only RB Leipzig scoring as many in the competition.

Streich's team also became just the second to hit three first-half goals in an away DFB-Pokal semi-final. Bayern Munich are the other team to do so at Schalke in 1984.

What's next?

Hamburg will look to revive their slim hopes of promotion from the 2.Bundesliga at Jahn Regensburg on Saturday, while Freiburg host Borussia Monchengladbach on the same day.

Bayern Munich have confirmed that goalkeeper Alexander Nubel will spend the next two seasons on loan at Monaco.

And the German champions have brought Sven Ulreich back to the club on a free transfer in order to fill the newly created vacancy behind first choice Manuel Neuer.

Nubel, who signed from Schalke in June 2020, took on that role last term and ultimately made just four appearances across all competitions.

The 24-year-old is considered a long-term successor to Neuer but had made clear to Bayern his desire to play more regularly next season.

As sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic explained: "It was Alexander Nubel's wish to gain match practice. We supported that."

Nubel joins Monaco on a two-year deal with Bayern reserving the right to recall the player at the end of the coming season.

Of his move, the German said: "I'm pleased to be taking the next step in my development at Monaco. 

"It's important to play at a high level, and now I've got that chance at Monaco. I'd like to thank the officials at Bayern Munich for this opportunity. My big goal is to repay their trust in the future."

Ulreich returns as a free agent after his contract with Hamburg, where he spent just one season, was terminated by mutual agreement.

Prior to joining the 2.Bundesliga club, the 32-year-old spent five years with Bayern Munich, whom he signed for from Stuttgart.

Salihamidzic said of the goalkeeper's return: "The condition was that we could sign a serious back-up. 

"Our goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic advised us about Sven Ulreich, and we're pleased we could reach an agreement with Sven. 

"This combined situation is very appealing. It helps everyone involved and fits within our financial framework because Sven returns on a free. 

"FC Bayern continues to plan for the future with Alexander Nubel."

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