Borussia Mönchengladbach's hopes of a top-four finish suffered a setback on Friday evening as the Foals were held to a 1-1 draw by a dogged Freiburg side in the opening Matchday 26 fixture.
Goals: 0-1 Grifo (10'), 1-1 Plea (16')
Freiburg had not managed to win on any of their last 14 visits to Gladbach, but that did not stop them trying here. After an initial period of sparring, the visitors took the lead when former Gladbach midfielder Vincenzo Grifo swept home the opener from the edge of the box from Pascal Stenzel's pinpoint cross. Rather than rattling the home team, however, going behind seemed to rouse them and they pulled level shortly afterwards when Thorgan Hazard latched onto Denis Zakaria's superb through ball to square for Alassane Plea to equalise.
Gladbach looked the likelier of the two teams to find the net again after the break, with Jonas Hoffman's fierce drive drawing a good save from Alexander Schwolow, before Niko Elvedi headed narrowly wide from Hazard's right-wing cross. Hazard then fizzed a long-range shot over the bar as the Foals went in search all three points, but even attacking substitutes Florian Neuhaus and Raffael were unable to unlock a stubborn visiting defence, leaving Gladbach frustrated and without a home win since Matchday 19.
- Plea ended a run of seven games without scoring to net just his second goal of 2019. He now has 11 Bundesliga goals this term.
- Grifo found the target for the third time since returning to Freiburg - from Hoffenheim - in January.
- Grifo made 17 Bundesliga appearances for Gladbach in 2017/18 without scoring.
- Freiburg defender Keven Schlotterbeck made his first Bundesliga start in this match.
- Hazard has not scored since Matchday 16.
- Freiburg are winless in their last 14 Bundesliga trips to Mönchengladbach (D5, L9). Their only Bundesliga triumph on Gladbach soil came in April 1995, albeit at the old Bökelberg stadium.
Gladbach: Sommer – Johnson, Jantschke, Elvedi, Wendt – Zakaria (Herrmann 61'), Strobl, Hofmann (Raffael 82') – Hazard, Stindl (c) (Neuhaus 71'), Plea
Unused subs: Sippel, Lang, Kramer, Cuisance
Out: Beyer (ankle), Traore (groin), Doucoure (thigh), Drmic (hamstring), Ginter (thigh)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Freiburg: Schwolow – Stenzel, K. Schlotterbeck, Heintz, Günter – Frantz (c) (Gondorf 77'), Abrashi – Haberer, Waldschmidt (Niederlechner 65'), Grifo (Höler 90+2') – Petersen
Unused subs: Flekken, Terrazzino, Okoroji, N. Schlotterbeck
Out: Kath (groin), Kleindienst (knee), Koch (knee), Lienhart (concussion), Sallai (groin), Gulde (hamstring)
Coach: Christian Streich
Watch: Johnson: "We didn't create a real chance to score"