RB Leipzig 1-1 Freiburg: Poulsen rescues point as host suffers title race setback

There was VAR drama in RB Leipzig's clash with Freiburg as the host was dealt a setback in the Bundesliga title race on Saturday.

Yussuf Poulsen equalised for RB Leipzig.   -  Bongarts

RB Leipzig's return to Bundesliga action saw it immediately suffer a setback in the title race as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg, which was denied a late winner by VAR.

In the absence of spectators in its first game since the league was suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Leipzig dominated matters at the Red Bull Arena.

However, Manuel Gulde's 34th-minute interlude to the near-constant Leipzig pressure looked to have secured a surprise win for Europa League hopeful Freiburg.

Yussuf Poulsen's header in the 77th minute levelled matters but Robin Koch tucked what seemed to be a 93rd-minute winner, only for VAR to rule there had been an offside in the build-up.

The draw leaves Leipzig four points behind Bayern Munich, which has a game in hand, and three adrift of Borussia Dortmund in second place.

Leipzig was on the front foot right from the off and Konrad Laimer went close to opening the scoring in the second minute when he shot narrowly wide from outside the box.

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He had been teed up by Christopher Nkunku, who then forced Alexander Schwolow into action with a powerful half-volley that was beaten away by the diving Freiburg goalkeeper.

Schwolow was needed to preserve parity again as he kept out Timo Werner's near-post effort after a rapid counter from the Leipzig talisman.

Yet for all Leipzig's opportunities, it was Freiburg which broke the deadlock with its first shot of the game, though it was debatable how much Gulde knew about it.

He diverted Vincenzo Grifo's corner beyond Peter Gulacsi to give the visitor the lead, which perhaps should have been doubled when captain Christian Gunter fizzed a shot across the face of goal.

Leipzig introduced Ademola Lookman for Nordi Mukiele and, after Marcel Halstenberg tested Schwolow from long range and Poulsen dragged a shot wide, the substitute was guilty of a shocking miss.

Lookman skewed his close-range strike from Kevin Kampl's delivery off target with the goal at his mercy. Kampl then saw a goal-bound effort cleared and Poulsen headed wide as the pressure grew.

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Schwolow made a fine stop with his legs to deny Lookman before further displays of inaccuracy from Poulsen and Lookman, the former redeeming himself with a towering far-post header from a Kampl cross.

Koch converted from Lucas Holer's header across goal from Gunter's free-kick, but Freiburg's celebrations proved premature as Holer was adjudged to have strayed offside.

What does it mean? Leipzig pays for profligacy

Leipzig had 23 shots but only eight hit the target as it wasted a plethora of clear-cut chances. Technology spared its blushes but Leipzig will rue its profligacy after losing ground on Dortmund.

Schwolow faultless for Freiburg

Though it was guilty of spurning opportunities, Leipzig was also continually frustrated by Schwolow, who made a string of impressive saves, and seven in total. It was a fine display from the shot-stopper, who could do little to prevent Poulsen's equaliser.

Lookman lacklustre

Substitute Lookman committed the most glaring miss for Leipzig shortly after his introduction. His disappointing showing was summed up by one of his more ambitious efforts striking a cameraman on the back of the head.

What's next?

Both teams face relegation-threatened sides as Leipzig travels to Mainz next Sunday and Freiburg hosts Werder Bremen a day earlier.

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