Freiburg hold Hertha in goalless Berlin draw | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.02.2014
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Freiburg hold Hertha in goalless Berlin draw

Neither Hertha Berlin nor Freiburg could find the net in the first match of the weekend, drawing 0-0 in Berlin. The away point could be particularly important to Freiburg, but did not lift them out of the drop zone.

For the second consecutive weekend, the Bundesliga's opening Friday night fixture ended 0-0.

The result is unlikely to have truly satisfied either coach. Three points would have lifted Christian Streich's Freiburg out of the relegation zone, at least temporarily, while Hertha's Jos Luhukay was seeking a first home win of 2014 for his team. Hertha have the third-best away record in the entire league and are one of just three teams to have scored more points on the road than at home.

"I believe that we started well in the first 10 or 15 minutes. Then we lost our control going forward," Luhukay said on Sky television after the game. "This continued into the second half. We were making a meal of things tonight and never really found our rhythm."

It was visitors Freiburg who enjoyed the lion's share of possession on the night, yet Hertha managed two more shots at goal. The best, unsurprisingly, fell to Bundesliga's equal top-scorer Adrian Ramos in the closing phases, but Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann denied him.

Exorcizing Augsburg demons

After conceding three late goals to lose 4-2 last week against Augsburg, Freiburg's defensive resilience and concentration pleased coach Streich.

"The positive here was that we kept our shape well for the entire game," Streich said, while Baumann said he had enjoyed "finally" keeping out his opponents. Freiburg's last Bundesliga clean sheet was a 1-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Braunschweig back in November, and the team had picked up a reputation for costly defensive blackouts either early or late in games.

Swiss forward Admir Mehmedi was the liveliest Freiburg attacker, forcing Thomas Kraft into several saves but never truly testing the Hertha keeper.

Twenty-year-old Matthias Ginter, who won his first call-up to Joachim Löw's Germany squad earlier on Friday, played well on his return to central defense - with captain Julian Schuster taking over the defensive midfield spot often filled by Ginter in recent weeks.

Around the grounds

In perhaps the pick of the weekend Bundesliga games, Schalke are thrown from the Spanish frying pan into the Bavarian fire. Fresh from their 6-1 Champions League drubbing by Real Madrid, the Royal Blues must travel to Munich on Saturday evening to face still-unbeaten Bayern.

To the north in Bremen, Werder entertain Hamburg in the Bundesliga's 100th "Nordderby" - in a year when both sides are performing well below expectations. Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen have a home match against Mainz, the ideal chance on paper to bring an end to their woeful run of seven defeats in nine matches.

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