I didn’t expect the trip to Eintracht Braunschweig to be an easy one but I underestimated just how difficult it would be. Sometimes things are just a little too perfect and the lead-up to this game is a perfect example of just how that’s true. It was just too good to be true, both RB Leipzig and 1.FCN losing in the same weekend. The stage was set perfectly for Freiburg to open up a three point gap on Leipzig. As things turned out they just have the one point gap. But to see it from another perspective I guess it’s not the worst time to drop points, after all Leipzig did too. So it could be worse. Freiburg have an excellent record against Eintracht Braunschweig apparently, they haven’t lost to them in quite some time, not since 1986 if the presenter on the pre-match show is to be believed. The reason that’s important is because in 1986 one Jogi Löw was playing for Freiburg, in fact he played in both games in the 1985/86 season against Braunschweig. Not only that but he scored the second goal in the home fixture which ended 2-2. The reverse of the fixture ended 2-0 in Braunschweig’s favour. It’s not just the trivia I got from the pre-match show, I also got these two pictures:
Well they still haven’t beaten Freiburg at least, but they came very close to doing so. Freiburg’s point was saved with the assistance of the referee in fact. Going into extra time the score was 2-1 to Braunschweig. Their coach wasn’t happy about the amount of extra time, nor about the fact they actually went over the three minutes by about 50 seconds. Had they not done so Freiburg wouldn’t have had time to take the corner and Marc-Oliver Kempf wouldn’t have scored the equalising goal. That’s three goals in two games for him now. They got lucky, I know. I’m just glad they got a point from it at least.
It certainly wasn’t a fun night, up until now they’ve had pretty good luck on Monday nights. But Braunschweig well and truly put a stop to that, it was no fun watching Freiburg get outclassed for the better part of ninety minutes. They dominated possession in the first half as has been their way this season, yet despite having 61% they only created one shot on goal. By comparison Braunschweig created six, four of which were on target. Niederlechner got a chance in the eighteenth minute right in front of goal but he couldn’t quite get there. Another frustrating moment came later in the first half when Grifo was perfectly placed yet he stepped aside for Frantz to take it, despite being closer than him. Frantz wasn’t quick enough and the chance went wasted, proof that sometimes being selfish is the better option. The past two games Freiburg have been the ones to start brightly and actually get on the score-sheet pretty early, but here it was Braunschweig who had the brighter start. Alexander Schwolow had a very busy night indeed. Somehow it was 0-0 at half-time, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort on Braunschweig’s part.
The start of the second half was not much better, Freiburg were restricted to one long range effort from Grifo, it was on target at least. Other than that it was all Braunschweig, if there were going to be goals they would be the first to score, that much was obvious. I just wish it hadn’t happened in such a way that Schwolow was partly at fault. Though Abrashi and Torrejon were at fault too, the former for underhitting the back-pass and the latter for not dealing with it properly. It’s lucky Schwolow’s ill-timed sliding tackle wasn’t too badly misjudged, the player was able to get away from him but had he not and Schwolow not got the ball then it would of course been a red card. It would have made a bad night even worse. Braunschweig were plenty dangerous by themselves from an attacking perspective, they most definitely did not need Freiburg gifting them chances that way. Their second goal came not long afterwards and Schwolow was helpless to do anything about it. At this point salvaging even a point seemed beyond Freiburg. They did manage to pull one back but it was more a quirk of fate than anything else. A long ball launched upfield by Höfler which Petersen managed to get on the end of, after heading it into the net he ended up clattering into the keeper. Somehow the ball went in and the goal stood. But getting a second seemed like a big ask, most likely impossible. They did however liven up towards the end of the game, in the last five minutes in particular. In the 85th minute Havard Nielsen was taken down in the box, he probably should have gotten a penalty. The ball was gone and contact was made but no penalty given. Nielsen may not have gotten a penalty but he did win the all important corner in extra time. Problem is they were already 20 seconds over the three minutes of extra time, the referee should have blown his whistle already for time. Yet he didn’t, a fact which understandably made Braunschweig’s coach furious. With this being the very last act of the game even Schwolow was up there, though of course his presence turned out to be of no consequence. Because it was Marc-Oliver Kempf who headed the ball home and saved Freiburg’s point. Everyone was celebrating, everyone but Christian Streich that is, he didn’t move one inch. He knew how lucky they were to get the point.