Freiburg - Bayer 04 Leverkusen reclaimed second place from Borussia Dortmund courtesy of a goalless draw at SC Freiburg on Saturday evening.
Chances were at a premium in an intense encounter in south-western Germany, where most of the action was concentrated in a thundering midfield battle.
With both sides pressing high up the pitch, Freiburg and Leverkusen found it difficult converting their possession into chances for most of the first half. Lively French midfielder Jonathan Schmid gave Bernd Leno a first test eleven minutes into the game, but his effort was easily collected by the Germany U-21 goalkeeper.
Jan Rosenthal's beautiful first-time volley clipped the bar shortly after, which subsequently sparked a period of pressure from hosts, who looked the more threatening side as the game progressed. Daniel Caligiuri struck just wide from a half-chance, while at the other end of the pitch Simon Rolfes issued the Breisgauer a first serious warning after 20 minutes, but the holding midfielder's strike narowly missed the target.
Leverkusen twice denied by post
Left-winger Caligiuri was very much at the heart of most of Freiburg's promising attacking play, but, like his teammates, often lacked precision in the final third of the pitch. The 24-year-old fired another shot wide before Max Kruse spurned the next opportunity, likewise misjudging his effort.
The tactical game after the restart might not have been one for the neutrals, yet both sides continued to create the odd promising opportunity, the best one of which saw Leverkusen defender Philipp Wollscheid's deflected header hit the post from a corner. Kruse could have broken the deadlock seconds later, but had his close-range shot palmed away by Leno.
The match was evenly-balanced and as such there were few chances, but while Freiburg appeared to be more decisive in the first half, Leverkusen were on top in the final stages and looked increasingly dangerous on the break. The visitors went within inches of taking the lead, but Andre Schürrle's shot from distance came back off the post.
Neither side was content to settle for what seemed like an inevitable draw and both continued to attack in the final minutes. In the end though, both clubs can reflect on a satisfactory afternoon's work against extremely resilient opposition.