In a game which was interrupted a number of times due to the barrage of snow, it was the hosts die Breisgauer that took an early lead - thanks to a Vincenzo Grifo strike after some neat Florian Niderlechner play. Half chances were a plenty, but neither side were able to make another count in the remainder of the opening forty five.
The wintery conditions continued to worsen during the second half, but it didn't detract from an eventful clash. Die Roten Bullen, Leipzig were soon level after a sweeping Dominik Kaiser strike but after coming on moments before Nils Petersen teed up Niederlechner to give SC Freiburg the lead once more and subsequently the three points - ensuring the title race in the 2. Bundesliga is back on.
Grifo gifts die Breisgauer an early lead
The sets of players were greeted by a blanket of snow as they emerged onto the Schwarzwald-Stadion pitch, after a late barrage had hit Breisgau - and as expected the overall tempo and flow of the game was affected, as through balls skidded through and passes held up in the wintery conditions somewhat taking away from what had promised to be an exciting contest between two talented 2. Bundesliga sides. Nonetheless spectators and viewers alike were still in for a top event; the Freiburg ultras ensuring that, with a raucous atmosphere created!
Ralf Ragnick's Leipzig had the opportunity with a win, to open up a nine point lead at the top of the table over their opponents die Breigauer, Freiburg. Yet after the expected frantic start, the hosts took the game by the scruff of the kneck and roughed up their Rasenballsport opposites as Christian Streich's side pressed and harassed the static combination of Diego Demme and Rani Khedira at the heart of the Leipzig midfielder, whilst relying on the virtue of the away sides attacking players, such as Emil Forsberg and Marcel Sabitzer, neglecting their defensive duties.
With the game a little under ten minutes old, it was through this outlet that the Schwarzwald-Stadion faithful would see the games first goal. Mainz loanee Florian Niederlechner held off Leipzig defender Marvin Compper and forced the veteran into a mistake as the ball trickled under his foot. The burly striker latched onto the scraps and slalomed in the snowy conditions towards Peter Gulácsi's goal, subsequently finding Mike Frantz who turned and rolled the ball into the path of an unmarked Vincenzo Grifo. The finish matched the move and the hosts were a goal to the good, the Hungarian 'keeper without a chance and Leipzig minds left wondering where Sabitzer was in the build to the move and Grifo's run.
As the half went on and weather conditions continued equally as poor as before, referee Manuel Gräfe took the clever decision to halt play and allow officials to clear the lines; an occurrence that would happen on a number of occasions throughout and even saw the marking painted a die Breisgauer red at the half time break!
Chances were aplenty throughout the opening forty five minutes; once again Grifo at the fore with a zipping freekick that Gulácsi did well to keep hold of, whilst the Italian's opposite Emil Forsberg flashed an effort over the Freiburg goal. Marcel Sabitzer had the greatest chance for the much maligned Saxon visitors, however the Austrian saw fit to blame the snow after a scuffed effort following some neat footwork to skip past Pascal Stenzel.
However the real star of the half for Ragnick's side was Yussuf Poulsen, the ever impervious striker. With the ball increasingly finding itself behind either defence, the physical nature of the Dane proved expert in causing the defensive pair of Immanuel Höhn and Marc Oliver Kempf problems as he was capable of out-doing either in a straight footrace. It didn't come quite off throughout however for Poulsen and he even picked up the only booking of the half for his troubles, after a late challenge on Amir Abrashi.
Petersen makes the difference
The hosts were well aware that die Roten Bullen had the attacking qualities to be able to flip the game on its head on an instance. This was effectively shown in the die Breigauer defences no nonsense approach, hacking away any loose ball to safety.
Emil Forsberg has been arguably, the stand-out player in the entire 2. Bundesliga and the Swede was eager to add to his six goals and haul his side back into the game. However it was through another outlet that the visitors found themselves level; Mr. Leipzig Dominik Kaiser popping up with the all important goal. Poulsen worked the channels superbly, before pulling back onto the edge of the box - Forsberg dummied allowing Kaiser to reverse the ball with his right instep and sweep the ball past Alexander Schwolow.
The goal evidently gave the impetus to the visitors and they searched for a winner that would all but end the 2. Bundesliga title race as a contest. They saw their biggest threat through set pieces and Compper was unfortunate not to make more of a glanced headed effort.
In what had proved to be an absolutely crazy contest, the game was once again flipped on its head with the introduction of the divisions top scorer Nils Petersen; only moments later and courtesy of the ex-Bayern Munich man the hosts were ahead once more.
A typical long ball was only half cleared by Willi Orban, into the path of Petersen. The centre forward took the ball in his stride and eventually played in Florian Niederlechner, who had done well to beat the offside trap, and now had Gulácsi and the Leipzig goal at his mercy. Niederlechner advanced and picked his spot, curling a right footed effort around the advancing Hungarian international. The Schwarzwald-Stadion, save for the small band of die Roten Bullen supporters, sent into jubilation.
Schwolow comes up trumps
Ragnick attempted his own tactical masterclass, bringing on Davie Selke in hope of an equaliser. However once again the youngster, who has far from impressed after a big money summer switch from SV Werder Bremen, was unable to carve any real opportunities or held his side in any meaningful way. Yussuf Poulsen remaining the focal point for any late away forays into the Freiburg half.
Another substitute, Stefan Ilsanker, had a great opportunity to level the scores - however the Austrian was unable to get the ball out of his feet only yards from goal, allowing Schwolow to pounce on the scrap.
However right at the death, it seemed that the visitors would snatch a late, late point. The metaphorical kitchen sink was flung well and truly at the die Breisgauer back four and just as it seemed they had held on, one final ball landed perfectly for Sabitzer only yards from goal; but up-stepped Schwolow to produce one of the saves of the season and parry the ball away, after the attacker had connected expertly with a volley. Manuel Gräfe signaling time only seconds later and the 2. Bundesliga title race was back on.