Nils Petersen scored with his first touch as Freiburg sneaked their first victory since the Bundesliga restart. For Borussia Mönchengladbach, the defeat puts them on the back foot in the race to secure a top four spot.
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schwarzwald-Stadion
Freiburg's first victory since the Bundesliga restart re-energises their hopes of securing European football, but the result and red card for Alassana Plea is a body blow for Borussia Mönchengladbach and their hopes of securing Champions League football.
Marco Rose's side have been in erratic form since the restart, bouncing between third and fifth place in the Bundesliga. With their rivals for fourth, Leverkusen, hosting Bayern on Saturday, this was a significant chance for Gladbach to put some daylight between them and Leverkusen. Instead, it was a night of missed opportunities for Gladbach, who travel to Munich next week to face Bayern with a threadbare forwardline.
Gladbach were superior in the first half in Frieburg, but couldn't make the breakthrough, despite looking dangerous on multiple occasions. Instead, the breakthrough came courtesy of Nils Petersen's first touch just before the hour mark. The substitute was sent on for a free-kick, attacked the ball in the box and guided a header into the far corner.
It was a masterstroke by coach Christian Streich, and Gladbach's misery was compounded when Plea picked up a soft second yellow for a trip, and a red for Gladbach's apoplectic sporting director shortly followed, who was sent off from the bench. Plea will now miss the crunch game in Munich next week, further blunting a forward line already short of the injured Breel Embolo.
In many ways it was a typical Freiburg display. Sheer grit and determination got them over the line here, and their awkwardness and refusal to be beaten was enough to break the spirit of a Gladbach side who have looked increasingly brittle in recent weeks.
For Freiburg, the victory reignites their hopes of securing a Europa League place, while Gladbach – Bundesliga leaders earlier in the campaign – may find themselves in the same European competition.