Freiburg maintained their unbeaten start to the 2021/22 season in a 0-0 draw away to Mainz on Saturday after frustrating their hosts, who were superior for much of the second half.
Just a point separated the teams in fourth and fifth at kick-off, both having enjoyed strong starts to the season, and there was very little between them once the match got under way too. Aggressive, high pressing was the order of the day, but despite being a tactic designed to force errors and create chances, there was very little goalmouth action to speak of in the first 45 minutes. Nico Schlotterbeck had Freiburg’s first and only glimpse of an opening, but headed over from a corner, before Philipp Lienhart needed to be alert at the other end to block Adam Szalai’s goal-bound effort following good work from Silvan Widmer down the right. Jonathan Burkardt was also thwarted by a well-timed Lienhart boot and Jean-Paul Boetius saw his volley well saved by Mark Flekken as the teams went into the break on level terms.
The match continued in a similar pattern until the 58th minute when Mainz had their best chance of the game. Karim Onisiwo flicked on a long ball forward and suddenly Burkardt was tearing down on goal, only to slice his shot into the side netting with just Flekken left to beat. It sparked a period of pressure from the hosts, with Onisiwo causing panic in the Freiburg box following a corner, and later cutting in from the right and curling a shot narrowly wide of the far post. Freiburg coach Christian Streich brought on the league’s all-time best supersub in Nils Petersen in a bid to swing momentum in his side’s favour, but Mainz remained the superior team, pinning their visitors back in the closing stages in search of a winner. The guests held on, frustrating Mainz to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
- Freiburg have won only one of their 13 Bundesliga games in Mainz (2-1 on 18 January 2020).
- It's the first time in 17 years (and therefore under Streich) that Freiburg have made an unbeaten start to a Bundesliga season after five matchdays.
- Burkardt made his 50th competitive appearance for Mainz.
- Nineteen-year-old Kevin Schade made his starting debut for Freiburg here, having previously made three substitute appearances.
- The 05ers have recorded more wins against the Black Forest club (14) than any other opponent in their Bundesliga history.
- Mainz have now kept four clean sheets in their opening five league games this term.
Mainz: Zentner (c) - St. Juste, Bell, Hack - Widmer, Barreiro (Stach 78'), Kohr, Lucoqui - Boetius (Stöger 88') - Burkardt (Ingvartsen 59'), Szalai (Onisiwo 46')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Lee, Brosinski, Papela, Nemeth
Out: Martin (groin), Niakhate (thigh)
Coach: Bo Svensson
Freiburg: Flekken - Gulde, Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck - Kübler (K. Schlotterbeck 90'+4), Keitel, Haberer (Eggestein 66'), Günter (c) - Sallai (Jeong 81'), Höler (Petersen 66'), Schade (Grifo 81')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Demirovic, Heintz, Höfler
Out: Schmid (match fitness)
Coach: Christian Streich