Ten-man Gladbach sunk by superb Petersen header at Freiburg
FREIBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Ten-man Borussia Moenchengladbach suffered a 1-0 defeat at Freiburg after substitute Nils Petersen's superb second-half header dented their Champions league qualifying hopes in a lively Bundesliga game on Friday.
The result left Gladbach, who had Alassane Plea sent off after 68 minutes, fourth on 56 points from 30 games, with fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen level on points with them ahead of Saturday's home game against leaders Bayern Munich.
Gladbach dominated the first half and missed a string of chances, with Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow denying Plea and Lars Stindl in quick succession as the home side defended desperately.
At the other end, Gian-Luca Waldschmidt skied his shot over the bar and Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer parried a fierce Lucas Hoeler shot with the hosts relying on counter-attacks.
With Gladbach piling on more pressure after the break, Petersen met Vincenzo Grifo's cross 67 seconds after coming on and headed past Sommer from 10 metres against the run of play in the 58th minute.
Freiburg gained the upper hand after Plea was dismissed 10 minutes later for a second bookable foul and Sommer again denied Hoeler with a fine reflex save in the dying minutes.
The visitors threw men forward late on and whipped a flurry of crosses into the penalty area but the Freiburg defence, superbly marshalled by Schwolow, held out comfortably.
Freiburg, who are chasing a Europa League qualifying spot, stayed eighth on 41 points but are within a point of the two sides above them ahead of the last four rounds of games.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris)