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Freiburg deal a blow to Gladbach’s Champions League ambitions

Sports Desk, Jun 5 (efe-epa).- Borussia Mönchengladbach, now fourth in the Bundesliga, were the better side for much of Friday’s match against SC Freiburg, but the hosts prevailed 1-0 to complicate the visitors’ quest to qualify for the 2020-2021 Champions League.

Despite having the ball 60 percent of the time, Gladbach had the same number of shots as Freiburg – 14 – and the home team put more shots on target.

The outcome at Schwarzwald-Stadion leaves Gladbach with 56 points from 30 matches, the same as fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen, who will play their 30th game Saturday against leaders Bayern Munich.

Eighth-place Freiburg, with 41 points, are poised to battle Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim for the sixth spot in the table, which comes with a ticket to the 2020-2021 Europa League.

Mönchengladbach, led by midfielder Lars Stindl, were dominant in the first half and appeared to take the lead in the 26th minute on a strike by Florian Neuhaus, but the goal was disallowed for an offside.

Though Freiburg’s Lucas Höler forced a save from visiting goalkeeper Yann Sommer in the final sequence before the break, Gladbach still seemed likely to prevail against a team that had yet to win since the Bundesliga returned to action May 16 after a two-month suspension due to the coronavirus.

Freiburg won a free kick with the match clock approaching the hour mark. Vincenzo Grifo delivered a precise cross and Nils Petersen headed-in to put the hosts up 1-0.

Petersen scored just 63 seconds after coming on as a substitute for Roland Sallai.

While Gladbach’s chances for a comeback were all but wiped out when Alassana Plea was sent off in the 68th minute after picking up his second yellow card of the night, Sommer made another fine stop against Höler to keep the margin close.

Mönchengladbach may have cause to look back on the contest with Freiburg as a missed opportunity to put distance between themselves and Leverkusen in the battle for the final Champions League berth.

A draw against Bayern on Saturday would be enough for Leverkusen to move ahead of Gladbach, who must face the seven-time defending champions from Munich next week. EFE

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