Cologne - Roger Schmidt's free-scoring Bayer 04 Leverkusen side drew a blank for the first time this season, Borussia Mönchengladbach continued their impressive early form and VfB Stuttgart finally recorded a win on Matchday 6.
SC Freiburg 0-0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
bundesliga.com rounds up the action from around Germany's top flight on Saturday afternoon...
Bayer Leverkusen failed to score for the first time this season after being held to a goalless draw away to a Freiburg side still without a win this term in a game both teams finished with ten men.
The match swiftly developed into an intense encounter in Freiburg, with the hard-running hosts denying their visitors the time and space on the ball to exert their game. As such, goalscoring chances were few and far between initially and the majority of the action was concentrated in the middle of the park. However, the dynamic of the game changed when Leverkusen defender Emir Spahic was sent off for a second bookable offence shortly before the half-hour mark.
Son hits the bar
Yet despite being a man down, the visitors were by far the more threatening side after the restart. Hakan Calhanoglu almost broke the deadlock with an effort from the half-way line after he spied Roman Bürki too far off his line, but his shot landed on the roof of the net. Karim Bellarabi and Stefan Kießling had presentable chances too, but Bürki reacted well to save each time.
The pendulum swung in Leverkusen’s favour in the closing stages when Freiburg defender Pavel Krmas was sent off, and they very nearly grabbed a late winner when Heung-Min Son rattled the crossbar from a 25-yard free-kick. That was as close as they came though, and both sides had to settle for a point come the final whistle.
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SC Paderborn 1-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Borussia Mönchengladbach remain undefeated this season thanks to a comfortable 2-1 victory away to Bundesliga newcomers SC Paderborn at the Benteler Arena.
The hosts began strongly and were unafraid to go on the front foot against their visitors, but that was ultimately their downfall. Gladbach are a superb counter-attacking team and took full advantage with their first foray forward, with Herrmann tapping in at the back post from Branimir Hrgota’s excellent left-wing cross. The Foals doubled their advantage soon afterwards when Paderborn failed to clear their lines following Raffael’s header, and the Brazilian reacted quickest to prod over the line. SCP improved thereafter, but were unable to pull a goal back prior to the break.
Wemmer grabs consolation
After the restart it was one-way traffic towards the Paderborn goal and the visitors very nearly increased their lead several times, only for home keeper Lukas Kruse to race off his line and deny the Foals. After one such occasion Christoph Kramer almost scored a long-range stunner in the style of Paderborn’s Moritz Stoppelkamp when Kruse’s clearance fell to him just outside the centre circle in his own half, but the World Cup winner’s strike went wide of the empty goal.
The hosts almost pulled one back midway through the second period when Mario Vrancic’s delightful curling free-kick from the edge of the area looked to be on its way into the corner, only for Yann Sommer to tip it away with a superb save. Jens Wemmer’s well-taken finish in the 69th minute set up a thrilling closing period, but the Foals held on to make it six games undefeated.
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VfB Stuttgart 1-0 Hannover 96
VfB Stuttgart claimed their first three points of the season thanks to a 1-0 win over Hannover 96 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
There was a distinct Far Eastern flavour to events in the Baden-Württemberg capital, where Hannover's Hiroki Sakai and Hiroshi Kiyotake came up against Japanese compatriot Gotoku Sakai, who wasted Stuttgart's first opening of note. Kiyotake was then unable to match his jinking run with the necessary finish at the other end, before Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner spurned another decent opportunity late in the half.
First time for everything
The hosts were again fastest out of the traps after the restart as Timo Werner went within a whisker of turning home substitute Filip Kostic's inviting cross. Armin Veh's men continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession, albeit without yet testing FIFA World Cup winner Ron-Robert Zieler in the Hannover goal.
That all changed with 21 minutes left on the clock, though, as Daniel Schwaab arrived unmarked to swipe home his first Bundesliga goal in 134 top-flight outings, ending the longest barren run of any current top-flight player. Another driving run from Kiyotake almost drew the equaliser, but the Stuttgart defenders did just enough to deny Joselu a certain goal and hold onto the win that, temporally at least, lifts VfB out of the bottom three for the first time since the opening day.
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