The Friday evening German Bundesliga fixture between Freiburg and Hamburger SV ended in a stalemate. Controversy surrounded the goal less draw Schwarzwald-Stadion with a debatable offside decision depriving the hosts of all three points.
Freiburg were significantly the strongest team and enjoyed more attacking opportunities in the final third. However, Breisgau-Brasilianer had a nerve-racking opening in store, with Aaron Hunt striking fear in the hosts with his dangerous set pieces.
Fortunately, the heroics of 23-year-old midfielder Janik Haberer saved the blushes of German goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow. Mavraj sent his cushioned header at the near post towards Filip Kostic at the back stick but Haberer was alert to the danger to make a pivotal intervention.
The hosts gradually improved as the first half grew older, creating opportunities with a simplistic long ball system. This manufactured Freiburg’s first serious attacking chance. Schwolow launched the ball to the edge of Hamburg’s penalty area, Marco Terrazzino’s perfectly weighted knockdown formed an inviting speculative half volley for Nils Petersen, who was denied by the fingertips of Hamburger SV goalkeeper Christian Mathenia.
They became more confident in the final third and Haberer was at the forefront of the attack. In the second half, his effort was diverted over the crossbar by Papadopoulos and moments later his blocked strike broke loose to Yoric Ravet, who remained coolheaded to dispatch his finish into the bottom corner.
Whilst Ravet was in a moment of ecstasy, the linesman was preparing to spoil his party with the brandishing of his offside flag. It was a contentious call, which left Freiburg incensed but also inspired them to press further forward.
Hamburg held onto record successive clean sheets in the German Bundesliga for the first time this season. Both teams’ ranking in the league table remains unchanged with Hamburger SV (15th) and SC Freiburg (16th).
SC Freiburg have been unable to capitalize on a promising 2016/17 campaign and have won two of their first fourteen German Bundesliga fixtures. They face bottom-place FC Koln, Borussia Monchengladbach and FC Augsburg before the winter break.
Die Rothosen have also endured a difficult beginning to the 2017/18 campaign, despite winning both of their first two matches. They went onto lose seven of their eight following fixtures but have gained some momentum with seven points from a possible twelve. Next up for them is Wolfsburg, followed by Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Long Ball and High Pressing Tactics Should’ve Guided Freiburg
Freiburg were the strongest team, in terms of tactics, playing style, chances created and team organization. For once, after a dismal season, they looked efficient and well-drilled, which has been a rarity Schwarzwald-Stadion.
The hosts began with long ball tactics to create momentum and regain confidence in the final third. It worked with Petersen forcing an early save from the Hamburg goalkeeper. They began to counter press as the first half progressed but this left them susceptible to the counter-attack.
Haberer showed evidence of Freiburg’s poor quality with a short pass back that invited Gotoku Sakai through on goal. He lacked composure once Freiburg’s goalkeeper emerged and squandered a perfectly clear opening.
They had the chance to reassemble and plan to siege the momentum which was firmly pointing in their direction at half-time. The counter-pressing system intensified in the second half and they began forcing Hamburger SV into complacent mistakes.
The screenshot above provides clear evidence of Freiburg’s counter-pressing in action. The two full-backs portrayed more attacking roles in the second period, as did Haberer, who was originally deployed in a deeper position during the first half.
In this attacking situation, Yoric Ravet pressed Hamburg into conceding possession on the edge of their penalty area. Reverting to Petersen’s long-range effort on 10 minutes, Freiburg had only three players in attacking positions.
This showed their intent to gradually wear down Hamburg and use the counter-pressing system to force mistakes and capitalize on this. Haberer snuck to the back post but Papadopoulos’ last-ditch lunging challenge saved them.
Then, the moment that deprived SC Freiburg from victory occurred…
The Controversial Decision That Deprived Freiburg of Victory
The picture above is of Yoric Ravet’s goal, which was ruled out for offside. Circled in blue is Haberer, whose strike from the edge of the penalty area broke loose to the left hand side of the penalty area.
Circled in red is the offside culprit, Yoric Ravet. Douglas Santos circled in red was the player arguably keeping him onside. I’m stuck on this one, so I’ll leave it for you to decide. My only suggestion would be that Petersen, circled in yellow, was perceived to be interfering in play, as he’s in the goalkeeper’s eye line.