SC Freiburg have cause to feel a bit hard done by as they dropped their Tuesday afternoon match 1-0 away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. In spite of Die Breisgauer outplaying their opponents for much of the game it was Gladbach’s Patrick Herrmann who grabbed the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute giving the home side the victory by the very narrowest of margins. With the fight against the drop being so tight, the defeat was a real missed opportunity for Freiburg to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the relegation pack.
Christian Streich made three changes to the squad dispatched Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 on Saturday afternoon. An ankle ligament injury forced Admir Mehmedi out of the squad and in his place was debutant Mats Møller-Dæhli. Sascha Riether was dropped in favour of regular right back Oliver Sorg while hat-trick hero Nils Petersen replaced the captain Julian Schuster.
Tactically the shape of the squad, the ever-present 4-4-2 “double 6”, remained but the squad makeup lacked a true defensive midfielder with the omission of Schuster; playing in that double pivot was the duo Vladimir Darida and Mike Frantz who in the previous match was slotted in as the right-sided striker. This amounted to a very attack-minded lineup.
Onto the match proper now and it was the home side that started brightest by exposing the incredibly high defensive line that Streich’s side were playing, which resulted in two very dangerous chances in rapid succession early on. 6 minutes in Branimir Hrgota was set up wonderfully by Max Kruse but his shot from close range slid agonizingly by the far post. A minute later Patrick Herrmann was played in alone from a quick counter attack but was denied by a great save from Roman Bürki.
Freiburg replied with a few good chances of their own and in the 18th minute looked to have gone ahead. Johnathan Schmid won the ball well in midfield before pushing the ball out wide to Felix Klaus who then immediately sent a low cross into the box finding Nils Petersen who in turn found the back of the net. The celebrations were short-lived as the linesman on the far side flagged the striker offside, which replays showed was the correct decision. Moments later Mike Frantz’s effort was ever so slightly finger-tipped over the crossbar by Yann Sommer in the Mönchengladbach goal.
It seemed as though Freiburg were in the ascendency but it was Mönchengladbach that would make the breakthrough on 23 minutes. The ball was worked over to Hrgota on the left side who proceeded to cross the ball into the penalty area in an attempt to find an onrushing Fabian Johnson. The cross was too high for American international but an aerial miscue by Christian Günter put the ball at the feet of an appreciative Herrmann who smashed past Bürki. 1-0 to the home side.
‘Gladbach were nearly 2-0 up if not for a last-ditch block from Immanuel Höhn from another Hrgota effort. Once again a long ball over the top was the catalyst taking advantage of the defensive rearguard playing so far up the pitch.
Freiburg’s midfield in terms of transitioning defence to attack was a real non-factor for most of the first half and it was prone to lapses in concentration. In the 37th minute a head’s up play from Julian Korb dispossessed Schmid. The ball was played to Kruse who hit a hard shot that Bürki had difficulty holding but in the end managed to smother before the rebound could be knocked in.
One of the bright spots for Freiburg in the 1st half was the play of Mats Møller-Dæhli. The 19-year-old Norwegian was allowed to play very freely in attack and seemed to surprise the Mönchengladbach defenders with some incredibly skilled dribbling. His efforts nearly paid dividends for Freiburg just before the halftime break as he intercepted a Kruse pass and quickly got the ball to Schmid on the right wing. Schmid’s through ball found Petersen but the striker just couldn’t squeeze the ball past Sommer.
Streich made no personnel changes for the second half but whatever he said to the players in the locker room clearly worked. Slowly but surely SCF began controlling the match with long spells of possession and the midfield issues of the previous 45 minutes seemingly faded away. When they were without the ball Freiburg ramped up the pressing, which led to increasing amounts of turnovers, interceptions, and fouls suffered.
Freiburg nearly grabbed an equalizer shortly after the restart. Oscar Wendt made a mess of a clearance only for Klaus to receive the ball out wide and flash an inviting cross across the face of goal where Møller-Dæhli was inches away from a tap-in with his outstretched boot.
The teams then took turns trading a few chances with Frantz pouncing on a botched clearance only for his shot to fly well over and at the other end Kruse missing a chance to put the match to bed when he missed the target from a sharp angle.
With his team looking exhausted and a final roll of the dice, Streich made two late changes in the hopes his side would claim an equalizer, bringing on Maximilian Philipp for Klaus and Dani Schahin for Petersen. Neither would factor in on Freiburg’s last good opportunity though as it was once again Møller-Dæhli who found Schmid in the box with a brilliant cut back, but the Strasbourg native’s shot was right at Sommer. The full time whistle blew without much on a rather well-played but still disappointing match from the Freiburg perspective.
After the match Christian Streich was rather upset at the outcome saying that for most of the match Freiburg were the better team but they could not make the breakthrough however he was still very pleased with the way his team fought back and thought it was a good sign of things to come.
Up next for Die Breisgauer is a difficult home match against a wounded, and bottom of the table, Borussia Dortmund, whose troubles were compounded by a lethargic 1-0 home defeat to upstart Augsburg on Wednesday.
The New Stadium Vote
During last weekend’s match SC Freiburg wore special jerseys with the phrase “Sag Ja” displayed on the front. As you may know, this was in reference to the public vote taking place on the 1st of February to determine whether or not to go forward with building a new 35,000 seat stadium for the club at the airfield in Wolfswinkel. After the votes were cast and the results were tallied the campaign was successful as 58.2% of the voters (45,629 individual votes) did indeed Sag Ja.
Now that the voting is done and the location has been chosen the planning, a cooperative effort between the City of Freiburg and the club can commence. Part of the plans for the new stadium include a stop on the light rail expansion that has already been approved for the expansion of the University in the surrounding area. Also rather important is the fact that supporters of the club will be involved in the planning as well.
Many see the creation of a new stadium as a boon as the aging Schwarzwald-Stadion does not meet the needs of the club and its supporters. Construction of the new SC Freiburg Stadium is set to be completed in 2019.
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