Freiburg - Matchday 2 ended with a whimper as SC Freiburg's clash with Borussia Mönchengladbach ended in a goalless draw at the Stadion an der Schwarzwaldstraße on Sunday.
Hard-fought, but no highlights
Winless after the opening weekend, neither side was willing to give their opponents an inch, but with Admir Mehmedi squandering a second-half penalty, the hosts will look at the result as two points dropped in Gladbach’s first 0-0 draw of 2014.
Having won their last five encounters with Gladbach on home soil, the hosts began confidently in an evenly-matched battle between two teams that place great emphasis on pressing their opponents. With time and space at a premium as a result, there was little between the two teams during a cagey start to the encounter, with Granit Xhaka the only player to go close, forcing Roman Bürki to tip his effort from 20 yards behind for a corner.
These sides played out a six-goal thriller in the corresponding fixture last season, but while goalscoring chances were at a premium, it took nothing away from the intensity of proceedings. Following in the footsteps of predecessor Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the Foals’ new No1 Yann Sommer had had the most touches of any player on the pitch by the half-hour mark.
Freiburg repeatedly foiled
Approaching half-time, however, the encounter began to open up as both sides raised the tempo and began taking more risks with their passing game in the final third. Christian Günter failed to beat Sommer from long-range, while at the other end Bürki did well to get down to prevent Ibrahima Traore, back in Borussia’s starting line-up, from breaking the deadlock, ensuring the sides went in level at the break.
Disciplined tactical performances were the order of the day and although Pavel Krmas flashed a near-post effort across the face of goal soon after the restart, there was little change to proceedings. Coming into this fixture, Freiburg had scored ten goals in the second half of their last seven competitive fixtures, but with Tony Jantschke marshalling Borussia’s backline with aplomb, Mehmedi and Co. were struggling to carve out a clear-cut chance.
Mehmedi’s costly miss
The Swiss striker had no excuses for not breaking the deadlock shortly after the hour-mark, though. Jantschke blotted a fine defensive performance by felling second-half substitute Maximilian Philipp inside the area only for Mehmedi to spoon the spot kick over the crossbar. Gladbach came close to making SCF pay immediately when Jantschke had the ball in the back of net with the visitors’ first shot on goal since the 35th minute, but the effort was chalked off for a foul on Philipp.
Foals’ head coach Lucien Favre sent on Thorgan Hazard and Fabian Johnson in the hopes of breathing new life into his side, but Freiburg remained the more active and were creating all the pressure in the closing stages. Philipp slammed a first-time volley into the side netting, before Mehmedi failed to make amends for his missed penalty, but in the end it wasn’t enough for the hosts, scoreless so far this season, to snatch victory.
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