Borussia Dortmund slipped back to the bottom of the Bundesliga on Saturday despite picking up a point in their goalless draw at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen.
Before kick-off, Freiburg’s 4-1 comeback win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt had lifted Christian Streich’s side up to 13th to send Dortmund bottom for the first time since November.
But Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund failed to break the hosts’ defence at Leverkusen’s BayArena as Borussia’s Italy striker Ciro Immobile squandered a string of second-half chances.
At the other end, Borussia’s Germany defender Mats Hummels headed Gonzalo Castro’s first-half shot off the line in the hosts’ best chance after Castro had earlier shot over the bar.
“We can live with that. This isn’t an easy place to come and pick up anything,” said Dortmund’s new signing Kevin Kampl.
“We knew they had an extremely good pressing game, perhaps it wasn’t the best football, but the main thing for us is to pick up points – even if it was just one today.”
With ten defeats in 18 games, Klopp’s side are enduring their worst start to a league season in 30 years.
They are looking to avoid dropping out of the Bundesliga for the first time since 1976, while Bayer are fifth.
Schalke 04’s star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will miss Tuesday’s Bundesliga clash at leaders Bayern Munich after being sent off in their 1-0 league win over Hanover 96.
‘The Hunter’, who has claimed seven league goals this season, was shown a straight red for hacking down Hanover’s Manuel Schmiedebach five minutes from time.
The Dutch international has netted 66 goals in 117 league games at Schalke, but is now suspended for what already looked a difficult league clash at Bayern’s Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
“The red card against Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has hurt us,” admitted Schalke coach Roberto Di Matteo.
“It was a foul and the referee was in a good position.
“Klaas-Jan was trying to win the ball, but didn’t succeed and, of course, it’s a pity he will be missing now.”
The Royal Blues went ahead at the Veltins Arena when midfielder Marco Hoeger slotted his shot past Hanover’s Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler with 32 minutes gone.
The win lifted Di Matteo’s Schalke, who face holders Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League next month, up to fourth in the table.
– Bayern shock –
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern had their lead cut to eight points on Friday when they suffered a shock 4-1 hammering at second-placed VfL Wolfsburg as the Bundesliga resumed after the winter break.
Borussia Moenchengladbach went third in the league on Saturday after Patrick Herrmann netted their second-half goal in a 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, who dropped to second from bottom.
Herrmann drilled home Branimir Hrgota’s swirling cross 20 minutes from time to move Lucien Favre’s side up behind leaders Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg.
Freiburg’s 4-1 win over Frankfurt featured a second-half hat-trick from ex-Bayern striker Nils Petersen, who came off the bench to grab the points for Freiburg and leave Borussia bottom.
It was Freiburg’s first win since November and it catapulted them up from last place to 13th in the table.
Cologne pulled away from the relegation zone and up to tenth with a 2-0 win at strugglers Hamburg, who drop to 15th and just above the bottom three.
Cologne picked up their fifth away win, to match Bayern’s tally on the road as midfielder Marcel Risse scored both second-half goals.
He fired his first through the legs of Hamburg goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny before burying a final pass from Nigeria’s Anthony Ujah 12 minutes from time.
Mid-table Mainz romped to a 5-0 win over Paderborn as midfielder Yunus Malli scored twice and set up their third.