Both sides were looking over their shoulders coming into this fixture, with the relegation zone looming, and caution was a buzzword, particularly for the hosts. They set up their stall to stifle Leverkusen's exciting midfield trio of Julian Brandt, Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland, succeeding in limiting them to just pot-shots. Havertz and Volland squandered the best of them, both missing the target from promising positions, while Freiburg did not muster a single shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.
Minimal mistakes in timing saw Lucas Alario twice go agonisingly close to connecting with the ball from close range as Leverkusen continued to take the game to their hosts in the second half, and some fine defending from Robin Koch prevented the Argentinian from getting in a clear shot on goal midway through the second half. A similarly crucial intervention from Mitchell Weiser put Christian Günter off as the hosts finally created an opening heading towards the final 15 minutes. That chance gave Christian Streich's men confidence, but the last – and biggest – chance of the game came at the other end when Luca Waldschmidt's shot struck the post.
Freiburg: Schwolow – Kübler, Gulde (Waldschmidt 46'), Heintz – Gondorf, Koch, Höfler, Günter – Frantz (c) (Höler 89'0, Niederlechner (Haberer 38'), Sallai
Unused subs: Flekken, Lienhart, Terrazzino, Kammerbauer
Absentees: Abrashi, Borrello (both cruciate ligament), Petersen (shoulder), Stanko (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Dragovic, Kohr (Kiese Thelin 83') – Brandt (Bailey 71'), Havertz, Volland (c) (Paulinho 83') – Alario
Unused subs: Özcan, Jedvaj, Schreck
Absentees: Aranguiz (knee), Baumgartlinger (ligament), L. Bender (injured), Bellarabi (suspended), Pohjanpalo (leg), Retsos (hand)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
- Leverkusen have already lost four times in their first seven outings of the season, one more than during the entire Hinrunde in 2017/18.
- Lukas Kübler made his Bundesliga debut against Leverkusen in December 2016.
- Along with bottom side Hannover, Freiburg and Leverkusen have the joint-worst defensive record in the Bundesliga so far, having shipped 13 goals in seven games.
- Leverkusen forward Kevin Volland has scored seven goals in nine Bundesliga meetings with Freiburg, including a brace in last season's 4-0 win at the BayArena.
- Petersen finished second behind Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski in last season's scoring charts, with 15 goals, and got off the mark in the current campaign against Wolfsburg on Matchday 4 (3-1). He has previously scored twice against Die Werkself, most recently in a 2-1 home win in April 2017.
- Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich grew up in Waldkirch, a small town 15 kilometres from Freiburg, and played for the youth team of the Black Forest club between 1986 and 1989.
Watch: Lukas Hradecky on Leverkusen's improving form