Eagles fall to narrow defeat in Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt were somewhat unfortunate to lose 1-0 to SC Freiburg at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Sunday after a dogged performance in which they played the entire second half with ten men following Gelson Fernandes’ sending off.
In a hard-fought encounter, the Eagles were eventually undone by a 77th-minute Nils Petersen strike and now sit ninth in the Bundesliga standings over the November international break.
Personnel: Four changes
Head coach Adi Hütter made four modifications to the team that lost to Standard Liège in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, bringing in Evan Ndicka, Erik Durm, Daichi Kamada and Bas Dost for Makoto Hasebe, Danny da Costa, Sebastian Rode and Andre Silva, who all dropped to the bench.
First half: Nip and tuck
The home side started well, forcing Frederik Rönnow into a couple of competent saves, but the first clear-cut opportunity fell to the visitors, when goalkeeper Mark Flekken could only parry a Martin Hinteregger shot, and Durm clipped the top of the bar with his follow-up effort. Eintracht settled into their usual game, moving the ball around well, but Freiburg continued to look dangerous when they ventured forward, and the lively Roland Sallai stung the palms of Rönnow in the 28th minute. A few minutes later, Frankfurt fashioned an excellent opening for Hinteregger, who seemed keen to support his more attack-minded colleagues throughout the match, but the robust Austrian was again foiled by a strong save from Flekken. In first-half injury time, the complexion of the game changed when Gelson Fernandes, playing against his former team, was shown a second yellow card by referee Felix Brych, leaving the Eagles to face the second period with 10 men.
Second half: Petersen opener
Inevitably, Freiburg, with a man advantage, took control of possession and began to exert significant pressure on a resolute SGE rearguard. Rönnow was called into action almost immediately, saving well from Sallai, while Frankfurt continued to look for openings on the counter-attack, typified by Filip Kostic’s angled shot in the 58th minute, which was fisted away by Flekken. With around 25 minutes to play, the Eagles unexpectedly began to regain a serious foothold in the match, with Kostic creating space down the left and substitutes Dominik Kohr and Mijat Gacinovic adding steel to the midfield. All that good work was undone in the 77th minute, however, when Petersen found himself in space in the box, and guided Christian Günter’s low cross into the bottom corner of the net. Eintracht responded creditably, with Durm and Hinteregger (twice) again coming close to getting on the scoresheet. In the dying seconds, following an incident by the touchline, the referee showed David Abraham a red card, which reduced the away team to nine men and effectively ended their chances of conjuring up a late leveller.
Summary: Not Eintracht’s day
Hütter had predicted a “physical battle” in his pre-match press conference, but even he could not have foreseen the closely contested duel that played out in Freiburg. The astute Austrian will be pleased with the level of effort put in by his charges, particularly in the second half, where the Eagles could easily have taken something from the game, but he will also likely feel frustrated by the red cards and the final result.
Rönnow – Ndicka, Abraham (c), Hinteregger – Fernandes, Durm (Silva 83’), Sow, Kamada (Gacinovic 67’), Kostic – Paciencia (Kohr 46’), Dost
1-0 Petersen (77’)