Werder Bremen and Freiburg cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw that consolidated their places in mid-table in an entertaining Matchday 21 encounter on Saturday.
With four wins since the turn of the year, including an impressive 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund last week, it was perhaps unsurprising that Freiburg began the stronger of the two teams. They had the first chance of the game in the 11th minute when Nicolas Höfler’s cross from the left found Jonathan Schmid on the edge of the area, but his first-time effort whistled over. Bremen improved as the half wore on though, and had the clearest opening of the first 45 minutes when Kevin Möhwald was first to a cross into the six-yard box, but Florian Müller made a brilliant point-blank save to keep his header out. Milot Rashica had two chances before the interval, but Müller was also equal to his shot from 16 yards, before the Kosovan volleyed over from Ludwig Augustinsson’s cross.
Bremen carried that momentum into the second half, and they held the upper hand initially. Romano Schmid was lively for the hosts going forward, but apart from a couple of speculative efforts from range from the attacker, they never gave visiting goalkeeper Müller any real cause for concern. The Black Forest club were typically well-drilled at the back by head coach Christian Streich, who signed a contract extension this past week as he goes into his ninth year at the helm, but they too struggled to create chances of note at the other end until the 77th minute, when Jiri Pavlenka saved Höfler’s shot from 16 yards, with substitute Nils Petersen skewing wide on the rebound. Both teams pushed for a late winner in the closing stages, and although Freiburg came closest after Vincenzo Grifo released Christan Günter down the left to cross for Schimd, whose shot was saved, a draw was ultimately a fair result on the balance of play.
- Rasicha made his first Bundesliga start since Matchday 9, a 5-3 defeat to Wolfsburg on 27 November.
- This was the first goalless draw for either side this season.
- Werder have 23 points after 20 matches. It took them 29 games to reach the same tally last season, which they ended in the relegation play-off spot.
- Die Grün-Weißen have won only two of 10 home league matches this season (D4, L4).
- Streich, the Bundesliga's longest-serving head coach, has claimed points in seven of his eight top-flight visits to Bremen.
- Petersen scored 18 goals in 72 competitive appearances for Werder between 2013 and 2015, before joining Freiburg. He’s Die Breisgauer’s joint-top scorer in 2020/21, along with Vincenzo Grifo, on seven goals.
Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic (Moisander 46'), Toprak, Friedl - Gebre Selassie (c), Eggestein, Möhwald (Osako 80'), Augustinsson (Groß 86') - Schmid (Bittencourt 86'), Rashica - Sargent (Selke 62')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Füllkrug, Agu, Mbom
Out: Erras (muscular), Plogmann (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Freiburg: Müller - Lienhart, Gulde, Heintz (Kübler 90'+3) -Schmid, Santamaria (Haberer 71'), Höfler, Günter (c) - Jeong (Petersen 55'), Grifo - Demirovic (Höler 56')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Til, Tempelmann, Keitel, Sildillia
Out: Flekken (elbow), Kwon (knee), Sallai (ankle), Schlotterbeck (unconfirmed)
Coach: Christian Streich