Vincenzo Grifo scored a superb goal as Freiburg battled to a hard-earned point away to Union Berlin on Bundesliga Matchday 5 on Saturday.
Roared on by a noisy contingent of fans scattered throughout the stadium, Union soon took control of the match and went in search of an early goal. Joel Pohjanpalo saw his effort cleared off the line by Dominique Heintz following a good run by the lively Robert Andrich, who himself then drilled a probing shot at Florian Müller from the edge of the box. That same duo each had another chance to opening the scoring – Pohjanpalo heading over with the sun in his eyes and Andrich skewing a shot wide – and with the hosts very much on top it was against the run of play when Grifo curled in a superb angled shot from Christian Günter’s pass to put Freiburg ahead. Undeterred, Union equalised with their next attack as Andrich’s deflected strike from the edge of the area left Florian Müller wrong-footed, putting the teams on level terms at the break.
The home side enjoyed the better start in the second period, too, as Sheraldo Becker blazed over the bar within seconds of the restart, before Marcus Ingvartsen forced a fine save from Müller following a superb run and powerful shot from a tight angle. Freiburg held on though, and gradually grew into the game, with Roland Sallai hitting the side netting and Grifo trying his luck from distance. The action continued to ebb and flow as the final whistle approached, but Union came closest to finding a winner with with Marvin Friedrich and Sebastian Griesbeck sending headers narrowly off target from free-kicks late on. Ultimately though, both mid-table sides had to settle for a point.
- Grifo now has two goals this season, making him the club's joint-top scorer alongside Petersen.
- Andrich was also on target against Freiburg last term, helping Union knock the Black Forest club out of the DFB Cup.
- Max Kruse provided his first assist in a Union jersey.
- Union had 13 shots at goal in the first half - a club record in the top flight.
- Freiburg have won only two of their last 16 away matches in the Bundesliga.
- Kruse made his professional breakthrough at Freiburg, registering 11 goals and nine assists during the 2012/13 campaign.
Watch: Grifo: "I was aiming for the far corner"
Union: Luthe - Trimmel (c) (Ryersen 80'), Friedrich, Knoche, Lenz - Gentner (Griesbeck 71'), Andrich - Becker (Endo 71'), Kruse, Ingvartsen (Bülter 59') - Pohjanpalo (Awoniyi 71')
Unused subs: Moser, Hübner, Gießelmann, Teuchert
Out: Karius (knock), Prömel (match fitness), N. Schlotterbeck (hamstring), Ujah (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Freiburg: Müller - Schmid, Lienhart, Heintz, Günter (c) - Sallai (Kwon 77'), Santamaria (Tempelmann 61'), Höfler, Grifo (Jeong 77') - Höler, Petersen (Demirovic 87')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Kübler, K. Schlotterbeck, Keitel
Out: Flekken (elbow), Haberer (ankle)
Coach: Christian Streich