Borussia Mönchengladbach only drew against SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday (March 4th, 2023). Alassane Pléa played a key role for Gladbach, who were outnumbered in the last few minutes.
It’s a point division that they can probably live with at SC Freiburg. The club is fifth in the table with 42 points, tied with Leipzig in fourth place in the Champions League. Gladbach climbs one position and is now ninth (30 points).
“We didn’t create any chances with the ball”ex-Gladbacher Matthias Ginter admitted frankly after the game, “If you see how the game went, you can be satisfied with the point.”
Only Gladbach has chances before the break – but a goal does not fall
Borussia Mönchengladbach got off to a better start in this game. Coach Daniel Farke’s team didn’t win more duels than Freiburg and both teams didn’t have much possession of the ball either, but Gladbach had chances to score. And what were the possibilities.
Marcus Thuram had the first in the 12th minute, when he got the ball in the penalty area, but a low shot from Alassane Pléa was denied by Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken. Seven minutes later, only the roles at Borussia were different, but the result was the same: This time Thuram played to Pléa, he was even free in front of the goal – but failed to Flekken, who parried with his knee.
Gladbach almost took the lead just before the break when Ramy Bensebaini headed in from a corner. He hit the ball well and aimed for the far corner, but Freiburg’s Lucas Höler positioned himself there and saved just before the goal line (38′).
Freiburg initially as if replaced
In the first 15 minutes after the restart, the spectators saw a completely different picture. Suddenly, Gladbach often just ran behind, it only became dangerous after Freiburg offensive actions. Freiburg’s Rolland Sallai almost completed the most beautiful attack to take the lead when he aimed his right foot at the far corner from 14 meters out.
His shot was good, pretty good, but Gladbach goalkeeper Tobias Sippel’s save was better. Sippel, who stood in for the injured goalkeeper Jonas Omlin, just saved the ball with his right hand (51st minute).
Thuram falls, but the joy of the penalty is short-lived
Then Gladbach caught himself again – and caused the next excitement himself. It was the 65th minute when Thuram moved from the left into the penalty area and into a duel with Freiburg’s Nicolas Höfler. Referee Benjamin Brand initially decided on foul play and thus a penalty, only then the VAR reported. Brand looked at the scene again on the monitor and revised his decision, it was the right conclusion.
Pléa still has a 100% chance – and fails to hit again
Gladbach should have taken the lead nine minutes later after Thuram dribbled down the left flank against three Freiburgers. His low pass into the penalty area landed in front of Pléa’s feet, only he put the ball just wide of the long goal corner from eight meters.
In the end, Pléa was still a Gladbach hero, after all he possibly saved his team’s draw. In the 89th minute, Höfler made a sharp pass into Borussia’s penalty area, where substitute Merlin Röhl stood. But he didn’t get the shot because Pléa just cleared it with a tackle.
Bensebaini catches a very avoidable yellow-red
Shortly before, a few minutes before the end of regular time, the television cameras had caught Gladbach coach Daniel Farke, he didn’t look satisfied. Seconds earlier, referee Brand had given the whistle for a free-kick for Freiburg, which angered Borussia’s left-back Bensebaini so much that he kicked the ball wide.
Bensebaini received a yellow card for this, but then he complained and saw yellow-red (87th). His trainer Daniel Farke also saw yellow: “I’ve never seen a yellow card, or been cautioned or sent off – but that’s the way it is now.” Overall, Farke criticized the referee’s performance: “The yellow-red card for Bensebaini was clearly excessive.”
“Gladbach had one or two more chances”stated Freiburg’s coach Christian Streich on the sports show microphone, “In the first half we didn’t do a few things well in terms of football because we played too slowly. But then we played well in the second half. Then our strength waned.”
Freiburg’s mammoth task in the Europa League
Before the league continues, Freiburg is challenged in the Europa League against Juventus Turin (Thursday, March 9th, 2023 at 9 p.m.).
In the Bundesliga, SC Freiburg hosts TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.). Borussia Mönchengladbach must pass RB Leipzig the day before (3:30 p.m.).