Borussia’s final Bundesliga away game of 2017 ended in defeat as Nils Petersen’s first-half penalty was enough to earn Freiburg a narrow 1-0 victory in the Black Forest.
The game began ten minutes later than scheduled due to heavy traffic outside the stadium delaying the Gladbach bus’ arrival, but in truth the Foals never really arrived on the pitch as Dieter Hecking’s men failed to offer enough of a threat during the 90 minutes in Freiburg. The hosts took the lead courtesy of Nils Petersen in the 20th minute, albeit in somewhat controversial circumstances, as VAR awarded a harsh penalty for Jannik Vestergaard’s accidental heel clip on the SCF striker long after the incident had occurred. Petersen duly converted though and sadly the Foals struggled to find a response.
The second half offered little change, with Freiburg pinning Borussia back inside their own half, leaving lone striker Josip Drmic isolated and unable to incorporate his teammates into a counterattack before the tenacious home side had wrestled possession back. The number of red shirts back inside the box when the Foals did have a chance to shoot meant that Alexander Schwolow was only called into serious action once throughout the entire match, producing a very good save to deny substitute Raffael’s top-corner bound strike. Freiburg also hit the crossbar twice during the game, but ultimately didn’t have to push for a second and were able to see out their 1-0 win.
Coach Dieter Hecking made two changes to the side that started against Schalke. Reece Oxford came in for the suspended Nico Elvedi to make his full debut for the Fohlenelf, while Josip Drmic also returned to the starting XI after recovering from injury, with Raffael initially taking up a spot on the bench. That meant that the Foals lined up with Yann Sommer in net, a back four of Oxford, Matthias Ginter, Jannik Vestergaard and Oscar Wendt, the midfield pairing of Christoph Kramer and Denis Zakaria, Thorgan Hazard and Vincenzo Grifo on the wings, and Lars Stindl and Drmic in attack.
There were nine players that Hecking had to go without due to injury or suspension. While Nico Elvedi collected his fifth yellow card of the season last time out, Fabian Johnson (back problems), Tony Jantschke (mild concussion), Jonas Hofmann (partial MCL tear), Ibrahima Traoré (hamstring strain), Tobias Strobl (ACL tear), László Bénes (broken foot), Patrick Herrmann (gluteal strain) and Mamadou Doucouré (torn hamstring) all missed out through injury.