Union Berlin moved top of the Bundesliga table on Sunday with a 1-0 away win over Cologne at the expense of Freiburg who were held to a goalless draw against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Freiburg missed their chance to end the round of matches first in the table for only the third time in their history.
Despite the scoreline, Freiburg’s game featured end-to-end attacking throughout, with both sides denied by excellent goalkeeping.
Union and reigning champions Bayern Munich are the only two sides still unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season.
“We are doing well. That’s why we are where we are,” captain Christopher Trimmel told DAZN.
It was Cologne’s first league loss of the season and kept them seventh in the early table.
“It’s a deserved victory. You have to acknowledge that quite clearly,” admitted Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart.
“I haven’t seen a team play as well here as Union did for a long time.
“You’ve got to recognise that the plan we had did not work at all.”
The visitors began the game at a furious pace, taking the lead on just four minutes.
Debutant goalkeeper Lennart Grill punted a long ball towards Jordan Siebatcheu, who passed to a running Sheraldo Becker on the edge of the box.
Becker’s cross was deflected by Cologne defender Timo Huebers into the bottom corner of his own net.
Just four minutes later, referee Benjamin Cortus awarded Union a penalty for a handball, but Siebatcheu’s tame effort was easily saved by Cologne ‘keeper Marvin Schwaebe.
Becker had the ball in the back of the net again a minute afterwards, but his superb strike was ruled out for offside.
Despite dominating possession, Cologne were unable to find a way through with Union frequently dangerous on the counter.
Cologne went down to 10 men in the 81st minute when Luca Kilian picked up his second yellow card for a tactical foul on Andras Schaefer.
Freiburg miss chance at first
In Sunday’s late game, Freiburg missed their chance to move top, and are one point behind Union in second.
Gladbach had the best of the opening half, with Marcus Thuram denied by Freiburg ‘keeper Mark Flekken in the 14th minute.
Thuram and midfielder Jonas Hofmann each had chances in the 29th minute but were again denied by Flekken.
The home side began to grow into the game in the closing stages, with South Korean Jeong Woo-yeong forcing a save from Yann Sommer with 10 minutes to play.
Despite both sides claiming a point, the different reactions of the managers showed what was at stake in the game.
“Gladbach were very flexible. We couldn’t defend everything in the first half. In the second half, we had a lot of mentality and conviction,” Freiburg coach Christian Streich told AFP subsidiary SID.
“We gave it our all and wanted to win at all costs.”
On the other hand, Gladbach coach Daniel Farke lauded his side’s performance.
Gladbach coach Daniel Farke said: “I couldn’t be more satisfied with the performance. We were totally dominant in the first half (but) we missed the chance to take the lead.”
Freiburg striker Michael Gregoritsch was however in high spirits after the match, joking that his overachieving side “have to consider whether a change of coach would make sense” after the draw.
Freiburg will turn their attentions to a Europa League trip to Olympiakos in midweek.
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