Papiss Cisse missed a string of chances as the visitors secure all three points thanks to a strike after just two minutes
An early goal from Michael Ballack was enough for Bayer Leverkusen to secure a 1-0 Bundesliga victory over struggling Freiburg, who will lament their poor finishing, having missed a string of chances to equalise.
Robin Dutt’s men didn’t have to wait long to take the lead. Omer Toprak got his head to Michal Kadlec’s corner and Manuel Friedrich flicked the ball to Michael Ballack, who tapped the ball past Oliver Baumann to give the visitors the lead.
Minutes later, when sloppy passing in the Freiburg defence almost gifted Leverkusen another goal, the home fans could be forgiven for thinking the game could turn into an exhibition, but Marcus Sorg’s side slowly came back into the match.
Papiss Cisse struck the woodwork as the first half wore on, coming to the near post to meet Anton Putsila’s cross, and he would also send a header narrowly wide on the stroke of half time.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, were largely unable to capitalise on their early dominance, with a Sidney Sam shot that went narrowly wide the closest the visitors came to doubling their advantage.
Cisse missed another decent chance minutes into the second period, as he latched onto Garra Dembele’s cross, but his effort once again sailed wide.
The 26-year-old came close once again 20 minutes from time, as he sent a spectacular volley inches over Bernd Leno’s bar, as the steady stream of Freiburg chances continued.
Leno, who looked shaky all night, spilled a fierce shot from Stefan Reisinger, but was able to get back to the ball before any Freiburg striker.
In an attempt to quell the hosts’ dominance, Dutt withdrew Andre Schurrle and replaced him with Stefan Reinartz, a centre-back, but the additional defender was unable top shore up the defence.
Leno was forced into making two late saves, first to deny Reisinger, who blasted a shot goalward after a turn in the box, and then stopping a tame header from Oliver Barth from the resulting corner.
In the end, Freiburg’s poor finishing betrayed them and Bayer left with all three points.
This result leaves the hosts rooted to the bottom of the table, while the visitors leapfrog Hoffenheim and move into eighth place.