Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund stuttered to a frustrating goalless draw at 10-man Freiburg in the German Bundesliga on Saturday ahead of their midweek Wembley clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
Dortmund face Spurs at London’s iconic stadium on Wednesday in a high-profile opening Champions League group stage match.
It was the first time in three games that Dortmund dropped league points under new head coach Peter Bosz.
Dortmund’s star-studded attack, boasting last season’s top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, was denied by a stubborn Freiburg side who played for an hour with 10 men at their Schwarzwald Stadion.
The video assistant referee intervened as Yoric Ravet was dismissed with 30 minutes gone.
Ravet was initially shown a yellow card for a tackle on Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer, but the VAR overruled the referee who changed it to a red as replays showed the midfielder went in studs up.
Schmelzer was stretchered off and was taken to hospital, while defender Marc Bartra was also injured in the first half.
It was the first time the VAR, which is being trialled in the Bundesliga, had called for a red card in Germany’s top flight.
Dortmund’s new signing Andriy Yarmolenko came on for the final 11 minutes for his debut after joining from Dynamo Kiev.
The result in Freiburg means defending champions Bayern Munich can top the table by winning at Hoffenheim later on Saturday.
Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng scored his first goal in Germany’s top flight for three years as Eintracht Frankfurt won 1-0 at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
After stints in Spain and Italy, Boateng slammed home his first Bundesliga goal since February 2014 with a crisp shot on 13 minutes.
However, he went off concussed after a clash with Gladbach’s burly Danish defender Jannik Vestergaard.
Elsewhere, Iceland striker Alfred Finnbogason hit a hat-trick in Augsburg’s 3-0 win at home to struggling Cologne.
The 28-year-old struck first with a well-placed header after being left unmarked in the box, then converted a first-half penalty before slotting home in the 94th minute to claim his treble.
The result left Cologne bottom after three straight defeats.
New signing Abdou Diallo and midfielder Suat Serdar scored second-half goals as Mainz earned a 3-1 comeback win at home to Bayer Leverkusen.
Japan striker Yoshinori Muto put Mainz level with an equaliser on the stroke of half-time after Leverkusen midfielder Dominik Kohr scored the opening goal.
Diallo headed past Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno on 57 minutes, then Serdar slotted home his first goal in nearly a decade at Mainz on 71 minutes.
Wolfsburg drew 1-1 with Hanover 96 after Daniel Didavi’s first-half free-kick gave the hosts the lead before Martin Harnik levelled for Hanover.
History will be made on Sunday when Bibiana Steinhaus becomes the first female to referee in Germany’s top flight when Hertha Berlin host Werder Bremen.
The 38-year-old will become the first female referee in one of Europe’s top leagues and Hertha are offering half-price tickets to women to see the historic moment at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.