RB Leipzig had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg as the Bundesliga returned.
It was a strange setting at an empty Red Bull Arena, with no fans allowed to attend as Germany recovers from the coronavirus outbreak.
Leipzig dominated most of the first half and had their chances to take the lead but it was Freiburg who went ahead, with Manuel Gulde opening the scoring, getting the slightest of touches on Vincenzo Grifo’s corner.
The goal rocked Leipzig and gave Freiburg hope of frustrating their hosts, but Julian Nagelsmann’s side eventually broke through the defence with Yussuf Poulsen heading in from Kevin Kampl’s cross.
Freiburg thought they had won the game late on and become the first team to do the double of Leipzig when Robin Koch tapped in from close range, but the goal was ruled out for offside by VAR.
Away day king hurts Nagelsmann: Key stats from RB Leipzig 1-1 Freiburg…
- Manuel Gulde’s opening goal came from SC Freiburg’s first shot of the game.
- It was also Gulde’s first Bundesliga goal for 511 days, and third overall, all of which have come away from home.
- RB Leipzig had 23 shots in total against Freiburg, hitting the target just eight times.
- By contrast, Freiburg scored with their only shot on target, from six efforts in total.
RB Leipzig looking over their shoulders
Before the Bundesliga took its break, the talk surrounding RB Leipzig was their standing in the title race. Die Roten Bullen entered gameweek 26 five points behind Bayern Munich but only one off second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
However, Leipzig have gone off the boil either side of the break and are now winless in their past three games. Three consecutive draws, against Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Freiburg could see Leipzig finish the weekend seven points behind Bayern, on top of the three-point gap between them and Borussia Dortmund.
But, perhaps more frighteningly for Leipzig, they could end the weekend in fourth and close to dropping out of the top four completely. Saturday evening’s game sees Borussia Monchengladbach travel to Eintracht Frankfurt knowing a win would see them leapfrog Leipzig while Bayer Leverkusen could move to within a point of Die Roten Bullen if they beat Werder Bremen on Monday.
And Leipzig can only have themselves to blame after a wasteful performance against Freiburg, having dominated the game and having the better of the chances.
Next five fixtures
- 24 May 2020: Mainz vs RB Leipzig (Bundesliga)
- 27 May 2020: RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga)
- 01 June 2020: FC Koln vs RB Leipzig (Bundesliga)
- 06 June 2020: RB Leipzig vs Paderborn (Bundesliga)
- 13 June 2020: Hoffenheim vs RB Leipzig (Bundesliga)
SC Freiburg keep Europa League hopes alive
The manner of the draw, losing a winner late on due to VAR, may see Freiburg leaving Saxony with a sour taste in their mouth but when everything has calmed down they should feel positive.
Thanks to their impressive performance and other results going their way, Freiburg have moved up to seventh in the table and sit just two points behind Wolfsburg in the final Europa League spot. Freiburg’s next two games look favourable and they may fancy their chances of taking six points against teams in the bottom half, particularly after their result against Leipzig.
And they may need to rely on those six points with three tough matches following, including what could be a potential Europa League play-off between themselves and Wolfsburg scheduled for the second weekend in June.
Next five fixtures
- 23 May 2020: SC Freiburg vs Werder Bremen (Bundesliga)
- 26 May 2020: Eintracht Frankfurt vs SC Freiburg (Bundesliga)
- 29 May 2020: SC Freiburg vs Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
- 06 June 2020: SC Freiburg vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Bundesliga)
- 13 June 2020: Wolfsburg vs SC Freiburg (Bundesliga)
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Player in focus: Timo Werner
The return of Bundesliga meant all eyes were once again on Timo Werner. The German striker has been tearing the Bundesliga apart, spearheading the attack for RB Leipzig, with only Robert Lewandowski managing more top-flight goals in Gemany than Werner this season.
As a result of his performances this season, and in previous campaigns, Werner has been linked with a move to Liverpool, a rumour that has been fuelled by the player himself.
“There is a lot to suggest that my style of play would suit there.”
Werner, speaking in February, on a potential move to Liverpool.
But on Saturday Werner may have been trying too hard to impress any prospective buyers, unable to break through a stern Freiburg defence. Despite causing a lot of problems with his pace, particularly on the counter, Werner often made the wrong decision, whether it be dwelling on the ball too long before shooting, trying to score when a pass was on, or playing in the wrong teammate.
And even when he did make the right decision, the execution was off, though that could be put down to a lack of match fitness. A bad performance isn’t the end of the world, especially given the circumstances, but Werner will want to get back on track in the next game.
The rest of the day’s action
- Augsburg 1-2 Wolfsburg: Daniel Ginczek scored late in injury time to move Wolfsburg up to sixth in the Bundesliga.
- Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Schalke: Dortmund won the bragging rights of the Revierderby thanks to goals from Haaland, Hazard and Guerreiro (x2).
- Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-0 Paderborn: Neither side were able to find a winner in this relegation six-pointer.
- Hoffenheim 0-3 Hertha Berlin: Hertha moved away from the relegation fight with a convincing win.