Bayer Leverkusen failed to score in a Bundesliga game for the first time this season as they were held by a resolute Freiburg in the Black Forest. Heiko Herrlich's side nevertheless climbed back up to second in the table behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich.
Freiburg 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
There was a lively start at the Schwarzwald Stadion, with Leon Bailey firing a free-kick over the bar and visiting keeper Bernd Leno called into action to deny Nils Petersen and Janik Haberer. Leverkusen came within inches of taking the lead in the eighth minute, as Lucas Alario's header from a superb Karim Bellarabi cross skimmed back off the inside of the post, but Freiburg continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack - Tim Kleindienst forced another excellent stop from Leno after being played in by Petersen, before Christian Günter flashed an attempt just over the bar. The visitors had further chances through Bailey and Bellarabi, but never seriously threatened the returning Alexander Schwolow as the two sides went in goalless at the break.
Freiburg had one of their better chances early in the second half, but Amir Abrashi's cross from the left was a shade too high for Lucas Höler, while Haberer's follow-up was blocked. Leverkusen continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession in a hard-fought encounter - which saw no fewer than eight players booked. Dominik Kohr tested Schwolow twice in quick succession, but it turned out to be a rare off-day for Bailey, who made way for Julian Brandt on 65 minutes. Leverkusen had come into this game as the only team to have scored in every Bundesliga game so far this season, but they were ultimately unable to make the breakthrough as it finished goalless. The visitors still managed to reclaim second spot behind Bayern, while Freiburg extended their unbeaten league run to nine matches.
We've had goals everywhere*! ⚽— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) February 3, 2018
*Almost everywhere pic.twitter.com/mQO1WW49xL
Man of the Match
Having missed last week's 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund with a dead leg, Schwolow returned to help Freiburg grab a sixth clean sheet of the season and keep their impressive unbeaten run going. Though Leverkusen were some way off their best in front of goal, the home keeper still had to make a number of smart stops to deny Bellarabi, Bailey and Kohr.
- Leverkusen failed to score in a Bundesliga game for the first time since 15 April 2017, when they drew 0-0 at home to Bayern. That's the end of a run of 25 top-flight games with at least one goal.
- Freiburg are on an nine-match unbeaten run – currently the best in the league.
- Leverkusen have lost just one of their last 16 Bundesliga games, against Bayern on Matchday 18 (1-3).
- Neither team has won away in this fixture in the Bundesliga since March 2012, when Freiburg claimed a 2-0 win at the BayArena. Leverkusen won 1-0 at the Schwarzwald-Stadion earlier that season.
- Herrlich grew up just 10 miles from Freiburg, spending three years in the youth system. He lost just one of his nine games as a player against his former club.
- Bailey has four goals in his last five league games.
Freiburg: Schwolow - Kübler, Gulde, Söyüncü, Günter - Koch, Abrashi - Höler (Kath 69'), Haberer (Höfler 88') - Kleindienst, Petersen (c)
Unused subs: Gikiewicz, Kempf, Terrazzino, Schuster, Stanko
Absentees: Lienhart (knee ligaments), Ravet (Achilles), Frantz (knee ligaments), Niederlechner (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich
Leverkusen: Leno (c) - Henrichs, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell - Aranguiz, Kohr (Volland 78') - Bellarabi (Pohjanpalo 85'), Havertz, Bailey (Brandt 65') - Alario
Unused subs: Özcan, Retsos, L. Bender, Jedvaj
Absentees: Baumgartlinger (flu)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich