SC Freiburg has achieved its minimum goal in the duel of the Europa League contenders and kept a competitor at a distance. The team of coach Christian Streich earned a 0-0 draw at Union Berlin and consolidated their position on the European Cup ranks in an often tough duel.
Union remained without a win three days after the setback at promoted SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Nevertheless, the Köpenickers are still well in the race in the battle for international places.
Union coach Urs Fischer made three changes compared to the surprising defeat in Fürth. So captain Christopher Trimmel returned to the starting line-up. Streich moved to two positions, including defending ex-Unioner Keven Schlotterbeck alongside his brother Nico, who also has a Berlin past.
The siblings were challenged at the old place of work from the start. Union started energetically and pushed for the early goal, but Sheraldo Becker (1st) and Genki Haraguchi (3rd) failed because of the strongly reacting SC goalkeeper Mark Flekken. Freiburg gave the first successful counterattack security – but this was not enough to lead. A deflected shot from Maximilian Eggestein landed on the crossbar (5th).
Lots of ball losses and little offensive
The encounter calmed down after the turbulent initial phase. Union struggled to build up the game, against the well-graduated guests, the Berliners could hardly get through and also made a noticeable number of bad passes. Freiburg tried to switch quickly after conquering the ball. Most of the advances were blocked before the last third.
Over long periods of the fighting first half, both teams neutralized each other in midfield. Union had better options. Haraguchi (20th) and Taiwo Awoniyi (23rd) missed good opportunities. Freiburg hardly radiated any danger. Union goalkeeper Andreas Luthe rarely had to intervene.
That changed immediately after the break: Freiburg had the best chance so far after a good combination. Vincenzo Grifo (46th) narrowly failed, but still initiated Freiburg’s best phase. The guests pushed Union into their own half with early pressing and forced the Berliners to make mistakes. What was missing was the lead that Lukas Kübler (57th) had free-standing in front of Luthe.
Union reported back after a mixed quarter of an hour. Awoniyi headed the ball against the crossbar after a corner, then Kübler saved a shot from Rani Khedira on the line (66th).