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Sports

Freiburg, Stuttgart waste chances for home Bundesliga wins

Missed chances was the theme as both of Sunday’s Bundesliga matches finished in 1-1 draws. Freiburg were held by Hertha Berlin, while Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic failed to convert a last-minute penalty against Frankfurt.

Freiburg had to settle for a share of the points with Hertha, having spurned two golden opportunities of their own in the game’s dying stages.

But if there was one man who would have wanted a second chance to start Sunday all over again then it was Ibisevic, who sent his spot kick wide with the last kick of the game against Frankfurt.

The Stuttgart striker had already blown two other late chances to win the match for the hosts, who came from a goal down during an opening 20 minutes marked by corner after corner.

Neither side’s defense seemed comfortable with the aerial onslaught, and it led to both goals - the first coming through Frankfurt’s Marco Russ.

The defensive midfielder had left Alexandru Maxim writhing in pain after an ill-timed tackle moments earlier, but used his boot to much better effect in the 14th minute by lashing home from close range after Stuttgart failed to clear their lines.

Hosts hit back through teen

Frankfurt’s lead lasted just two minutes. Stuttgart won their own corner, and Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp could only palm the ball into the path of Timo Werner.

The 17-year-old forward did not pass up the opportunity to score his first Bundesliga goal, powering a header into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

There promised to be more goals in the second half, but the scoreline did not change. In-form Czech front man Vaclav Kadlec should have put Frankfurt in front for the second time in the match when Sebastian Jung, Sebastian Rode and Stefan Aigner combined in the 56th minute to hand him a golden chance. Instead, the off-season signing's shot drifted harmlessly wide.

Nightmare a reality for Ibisevic

Then, in the 83rd minute, Ibisevic failed to even hit the target for Stuttgart from close range, having done all the hard work to create the chance.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international went close again in the 90th minute, but only found the side netting from yet another corner. His worst moment was saved, however, for the 92nd minute, when he failed to convert from the spot after Ibrahima Traore was brought down by Rode.

Oliver Sorg of Freiburg battles with Änis Ben-Hatira during Sunday's 1-1 draw. Photo: dpa

The battle between Freiburg and Hertha was keen, even if the quality of finishing was not

In Freiburg, the hosts began well and went ahead early, but conceded shortly before half-time. They could have found a winner when Gelson Fernandes was put through on goal in the 89th minute, but his shot was tipped onto the upright.

Defender Christian Günther then sent his free header wide from the resultant corner, ensuring Hertha went back to the capital with a point.

After Hertha playmaker Anis Ben-Hatira was dispossessed in midfield, Fernandes pounced on the loose ball to feed Sebastian Freis. His early through ball drifted straight into the path of strike partner Adir Mehmedi, who rounded Thomas Kraft to score after just six minutes.

Paying the price

Freiburg’s failure to add another goal to their early ascendancy was then punished. A throw-in from the left hardly looked a threat for the hosts, but Ronny sent the ball to an awkward spot for Freiburg to defend and Per Skjelbred slid in to make it 1-1.

The first half hit no great heights, however, and the second followed suit until Freiburg spurned their late chances.