Frankfurt start as they mean to go on
Keen to put their recent disappointing results behind them, Frankfurt hit the ground running, Yūki Ōgimi forcing a corner less than a minute into the match. Peggy Nietgen’s fierce header just about turned over the bar by Laura Benkarth for a second, Sophie Schmidt’s half volley from the resulting set piece, blasted against the side-netting. The hosts barely with a chance to draw breath.
Benkarth once again called into action in the opening stages, once again looking less than comfortable, her attempted clearance cannoning off of her own defender. Ōgimi snappy to get to the errant ball but unable to connect before Benkarth fell on it to give the hosts a chance to settle.
The ball sent long for Lina Magull to race onto, her line held well to nip in behind the high Frankfurt line, left alone against an advancing Desiree Schumann, her low shot saved by Schumann’s left boot – the young international with time and space, yet snatching at the shot.
The hosts began to settle, dealing with the Frankfurt attack and keeping the visitors confined to midfield. Mandy Islacker volleying over after a neat move, Jackie Groenen advanced untroubled through midfield before finding Ōgimi out wide, her ball in met by Islacker under pressure. Freiburg back in possession and holding the ball in front of Benkarth’s box, timidly probing for a chance to get forward.
After nervous moments defending a corner, Freiburg broke well and Lena Petermann won a corner for the hosts, connecting with the inswinger ahead of Saskia Bartusiak, she could only spin her header wide of Schumann’s far post. The visitors far from organised in defending set pieces, they regained possession to hunt for their own opening.
Doing in their best to hold on until half-time, the hosts were momentarily torn open, Ōgimi switching to the left chased the ball to the by-line before lofting a cross into the box. Groenen’s side-footed volley almost catching Benkarth out, the international diving to her right to turn the ball around the upright. Red and black shirts pinned back as white advanced, searching for a breakthrough before the break.
Level at the break
Sandra Starke and Cinzia Zehnder’s ideas in bringing the ball away for the hosts were good but the approach was rushed, the former’s touch was too heavy and she was too narrow-minded, wanting to do it all herself. Hasret Kayikci’s half-chance late in the first-half was a nod to the team as a whole, capable of scything through but low on options, her shot from outside the box was always over hit, dipping but far too late.
The visitors started the second-half with the same fire they finished the first win, quickly overrunning the hosts in the attacking third. Freiburg far from convincing when defending an early free kick, Benkarth out into no man’s land nowhere near the ball with white shirts keen to exploit the error. Groenen’s shot from outside the box a let off as it sailed over the bar, Matt Ross left frustrated on the sidelines.
The game still stuck in midfield, the hosts looking impertinently dangerous with a flurry of chances around the hour mark. First Petermann’s hopeful shot was well blocked by Bartusiak before Clara Schöne headed effort at a free kick was put over for a corner.
Lacking bite in front of goal Freiburg were forced to sit deep, hanging on against a far more experienced side. A break for the hosts saw Magull forced to play backwards with no options, the ball working out to Carolin Simon 30 yards out, her effort coming down behind Schumann’s goal with snow on it. The visitors pushing forward again.
With the home side beginning to slow down, the visitors continued advancing, keen to pull the team apart at the back, Ōgimi a persistent threat, constantly switching flanks, unable to be pinned down. The defence doing just enough to keep Islacker out as Ōgimi fired the ball across the box for her, Benkarth unsure.
Schöne the first into the book for pull back on Laura Störzel as she looked to get in behind, the free kick dealt with for the hosts to counter. Bartusiak swiftly following Schöne into the book for a foul on Magull as the attacker danced in front of the away box, Juliane Maier’s free kick fired around the wall and straight into Schumann’s gut.
Once more Frankfurt regained possession and once more they attack with pace and numbers, Schmidt opting to rip one from outside of the box, her looping effort dipping just under the bar and Benkarth forced into a fine fingertip save. The pressure mounting.
A foul from Störzel gave the hosts a late chance, Simon’s delivery into the box worrying for the away side, Schumann glued in place as Nietgen headed inches wide of her own post, Petermann’s header at the follow-up corner wide of the opposite post. The home side with their best spell winning another corner, the whipped header cleared off the line by a well-placed Groenen but unable to fully break the ball was back with the hosts as Bartusiak went in late on Magull for another free kick.
Magull’s direct effort leaving Schumann on her toes, the keeper throwing both hands up to turn the goal-bound strike over for yet another corner. The hosts finishing the game strongest as Magull’s cross-cum-shot bobbled leaving Schumann diving at air, with just enough on the ball to push it wide for a late corner.
With only stoppage time left the ball was sent to the near post, flicked on no one in red could get a touch as the ball begged to be flicked over the line, both teams left scrambling at the death; nothing to separate them.