Ten-man Borussia Moenchengladbach suffered a 1-0 defeat against SC Freiburg after substitute Nils Petersen’s superb second-half header dented their Champions League qualifying hopes in a lively Bundesliga game on Friday.
The result left ’Gladbach, who had Alassane Plea sent off after 68 minutes, fourth on 56 points from 30 games, with fifth-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen level on points with them ahead of their home game yesterday against leaders Bayern Munich.
’Gladbach dominated the first half and missed a string of chances, with Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow denying Plea and Lars Stindl in quick succession as the home side defended desperately.
At the other end, Gian-Luca Waldschmidt skied a shot over the bar and ’Gladbach ’keeper Yann Sommer parried a fierce Lucas Hoeler shot with the hosts relying on counterattacks.
With ’Gladbach piling on more pressure after the break, Petersen met Vincenzo Grifo’s cross 67 seconds after coming on and headed past Sommer from 10m against the run of play in the 58th minute.
Freiburg gained the upper hand after Plea was dismissed 10 minutes later for a second bookable foul and Sommer again denied Hoeler with a fine reflex save in the dying minutes.
The visitors threw men forward and whipped a flurry of crosses into the penalty area, but the Freiburg defense, superbly marshaled by Schwolow, held out comfortably.
Freiburg, who are chasing a Europa League qualifying spot, stayed eighth on 41 points, but are within a point of the two sides above them ahead of the final four rounds.
Separately, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji were fined by the league for breaking stringent health guidelines to get haircuts at home.
Photographs emerged of Sancho and Akanji having their hair styled in their respective homes, with neither the players nor the hairdresser wearing any personal protective equipment.
“Absolute joke DFL,” tweeted Sancho, referring to the German Football Association.
“The players from Borussia Dortmund had obviously violated general hygiene and infection protection standards at home hairdressing appointments and in particular the medical-organisational concept of the DFL task force,” the DFL said. “There is no question that professional footballers also have to have their hair cut. However, this currently has to be done in accordance with the medical-organisational concept.”
Additional reporting by AFP
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