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19.12.2021Bundesliga

2-1 defeat at Freiburg – No points in final game of the year

The Werkself were left empty-handed in the final Bundesliga match of 2021. The Black and Reds lost 2-1 away to SC Freiburg. Charles Aránguiz levelled for Bayer 04 at 1-1 in added time at the end of first half.
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Head coach Gerardo Seoane made five changes to his starting line-up in comparison to the 2-2 draw against TSG Hoffenheim: Jeremie Frimpong, Daley Sinkgraven, Robert Andrich, Charles Aranguiz and Amine Adli came in for Edmond Tapsoba, Exequiel Palacios (both on the bench), Moussa Diaby (suspended), Piero Hincapie (slight muscle injury) and Karim Bellarabi, who was a coronavirus contact away from the club. In addition, Nadiem Amiri was sidelined due to illness, and Mitchel Bakker returned to the squad – the Dutchman started on the bench.

Hradecky tested early on – Grifo converts penalty

The Bayer 04 captain Lukas Hradecky was centre stage after a few seconds: First, the Finnish keeper kept out Nico Schlotterbeck (1') and then he frustrated a good opportunity for Lucas Höler (3'). It was the wake-up call the Werkself needed as Kerem Demirbay and Co. then increasingly found their way into the game without however getting into dangerous areas in the final third – the best effort for the Black and Reds in the opening 15 minutes was a long-range effort from Florian Wirtz (8').

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The hosts were the livelier team as the game progressed and they looked more dangerous up front. Hradecky was able to save a long-range shot from Nicolas Höfler (27') but the keeper was beaten six minutes later: Vincenco Grifo converted a penalty with a Panenka to make it 1-0 after the ball struck Frimpong on the arm (33').

Tah sets up Aránguiz for tap-in

The Seoane team initially failed to provide a response. But then Leverkusen struck in added time at the end of the first half: A Wirtz corner flew through the penalty area and ended up with Jonathan Tah at the far post. The defender had his back to goal and attempted an overhead kick. This turned into a perfect assist for Aránguiz who was able to head home from five yards out to make it 1-1 (45') – it was the first goal of the season for the Chilean midfielder.

Seoane's half-time talk appeared to be a success as the Werkself were more ambitious and determined in the second half. However, the Black and Reds did experience the fact that Freiburg have the most solid defence in the league at the moment. The hosts were very compact in defence and left little space for Patrik Schick and Co. to show what they could do. Adli tried from distance but his shot was easily saved by the SCF keeper Mark Flekken.

Schade goal wins game

Seoane brought on Paulinho and Lucas Alario as fresh attackers in the final 15 minutes of the game. However, Bayer 04 did not really take any risks. And the Sport Club appeared increasingly happy with a 1-1 draw. That made the goals scored by the Breisgau team even more of surprise: Ermedin Demirovic crossed from the right into the centre where Kevin Schade ran in to turn the ball into the net at the near post to make it 2-1 (84'). The Werkself pressed for the leveller but without success.

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The defeat in the last match of 2021 leaves Bayer 04 in fourth place going into the winter break. Wirtz and Co. return to Bundesliga action on Saturday, 8 January (kick-off: 15.30 CET) with a home game at the BayArena against Union Berlin.

Match stats:

SC Freiburg: Flekken – Kübler, Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck, Günter – Haberer (Eggestein 80’), Höfler – Jeong (K. Schlotterbeck 90’), Grifo (Demirovic 80’) – Höler, Sallai (Schade 56’)

Bayer 04: Hradecky – Frimpong, Kossounou, Tah, Sinkgraven (Bakker 87’) – Andrich, Aránguiz (Palacios 80’) – Wirtz, Demirbay (Sertdemir 87’), Adli (Paulinho 76’) – Schick (Alario 76’)

Goals: 1-0 Grifo (33’ pen.), 1-1 Aranguiz (45’), 2-1 Schade (84’)

Booked: N. Schlotterbeck, Höler – Frimpong, Andrich, Kossounou

Referee: Benjamin Cortus (Röthenbach a. d. Pegnitz)

Attendance: 750

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