There was no victor and no vanquished as Jamilu Collins’ Paderborn forced Fortuna Dusseldorf to a goalless stalemate on Saturday afternoon as Bundesliga made a low key return at the Merkur Spiel-Arena.
A lot was riding on this game with the visitors sitting bottom of the log while Uwe Rosler’s men occupy the play-off spot, and only six points separating the two sides.
The hosts, though, were the slight favourite before kick-off, with Rosler’s January appointment having boosted Fortuna Dusseldorf’s survival chances.
Before COVID-19 struck, Fortuna only lost one of their six league matches under his care. However, four of those outings finished as draws.
But one of Paderborn’s four league successes this season came in October’s reverse fixture, and although they headed to Dusseldorf without a win in six, they played with heart and grit in the opening stages of this tie.
Goals are often expected when two of the league’s worst defences square up. Still, a disciplined display from Nigeria international fullback Collins helped the visitors keep a rare first-half clean sheet.
While the home side edged the first interval, the second 45 was more evenly and closely fought as Baumgart’s men raised their game in search of the win that could improve their league standings.
Shortly after the hour-mark, though, Valon Berisha nearly handed Fortuna the lead when his fine header from the centre of the box, off a Niko Gießelmann cross, struck the bar.
But the visitors had the upper hand In the closing stages. First, Collins nearly fashioned out a chance for his side as he tried to pick out a teammate in the area, but an opponent blocked his cross.
Then, Christopher Antwi-Adjej should have won the game late on for Paderborn but he somehow managed to miss the target after a wonderful counter-attacking move.
In the end, both teams had to settle for the share of the spoils.
Collins’ compatriot, goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, was not dressed by the hosts for the encounter.