Freiburg avoided defeat again at fellow high-flyers 1. FSV Mainz 05, in a game that lacked spark at times. Both teams defended well but created little in front of goal.
“We didn’t want the game to be frantic and we managed to do that,” said Christian Streich after the final whistle, adding: “The football wasn’t always pretty, but it’s very difficult to find space against Mainz. We always had control but went long spells without creating any clear-cut chances. I’m satisfied because we showed stability, but we can do better with the ball.”
“Freiburg were well organised. We can’t be too happy with the first half as we were a bit too sluggish. The second half was a bit better but we didn’t have that many opportunities. The result is the right one,” his opposite number Bo Svensson concluded.
A change of system
Streich made three changes to the eleven that started against 1. FC Köln, and also opted for a change in system for this weekend. SCF employed a 3-4-3 formation instead of 4-4-2, with Janik Haberer, Manuel Gulde and Kevin Schade all coming into the team. Schade was making his first start in the Bundesliga. Vincenzo Grifo, Maximilian Eggestein and Wooyeong Jeong were dropped to the bench.
Mainz started with two changes to their lineup, as Adam Szalai and Alexander Hack replaced Karim Onisiwo and the injured Moussa Niakhaté in a 3-5-2 formation.
Even game with few openings
Both coaches had praised the quality of their opponents before kick-off, so it was unsurprising that neither team wanted to leave themselves open as the game started. It was a fairly quiet start to the game, and though the level was high, both teams failed to threaten in the final third. The play was continuously broken up by fouls all over the pitch.
Freiburg saw more of the ball in the opening stages, with teenager Kevin Schade looking most likely to make something happen. The first sighting of goal came when his shot was deflected over the bar in the 15th minute. Freiburg followed this up with shots from Nico Schlotterbeck (16’) and Philipp Lienhart (18’), whose volley was deflected wide after a scramble in the box.
Meanwhile, the hosts didn’t come close in the first quarter of an hour, but had their first dangerous opportunity through home-grown attacker Jonathan Burkardt, who travelled with the ball all the way into the Freiburg penalty area on the counter, only for the sting to be taken out of his shot by the defender (22’). Overall, it was the disciplined defence of the two sides that came out on top in the first half. The final opportunity of the first period fell to Mainz’s Boetius, but he volleyed straight at Flekken in the Freiburg goal (41’).
Mainz seemed to wrestle control of the game away from the visitors after the break, though chances were still few and far between. In the 57th minute, Burkardt had another shot on goal, which was well saved by Flekken. Ten minutes from time, the Dutch keeper again kept the scores level, coming out on top in a one-on-one against Karim Onisiwo (80’).
The game was scrappy for long periods, and the 13,500 spectators in the ground saw fight from both teams, but many sloppy passes in possession. In the 63rd minute, Schade again looked dangerous, but he was crowded out after a mazy run into the box. Mainz also had a good chance through St. Juste, but Flekken closed down the angle well when it looked as though he were through on goal.
Grifo with the chance to win it
The first 35 minutes of the second half were mainly dominated by Mainz, but in the final ten Freiburg looked to attack. First Philipp Lienhart headed across goal, but Robin Zentner just managed to push it away from the onrushing Nico Schlotterbeck (84’). Substitute Vincenzo Grifo then had a massive chance to win it with the last kick of the game, attempting to curl one into the top corner from just inside the box, but Zentner clawed it away to deny the visitors (90’+3).
With the match ending 0-0, Freiburg remain without defeat from their first five games – something they haven’t done for 15 years. They host FC Augsburg in their final outing at the Dreisamstadion next Sunday, with nine points on the board.
Foto: Achim Keller
|1. FSV Mainz 05: Zentner - St. Juste, Bell, Hack - Widmer, Kohr, Lucoqui, Barreiro, Boetius (88' Stöger) - Burkardt (59' Ingvartsen), Szalai (46' Onisiwo)|
|Head coach: Bo Svensson|
|SC Freiburg: Flekken - Gulde, Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck - Kübler (90'+4 K. Schlotterbeck), Keitel, Haberer (66' Eggestein), Günter - Schade (81' Grifo), Höler (66' Petersen), Sallai (81' Jeong)|
|Head coach: Christian Streich|
|Yellow cards: Hack (45'), Zentner (90'+4) - Schlotterbeck (64')|
|Referee: Benjamin Brand|