Seventh home game, seventh win! Borussia Dortmund consolidated their position at the top of the table with a hard-won 2-0 (1-0) victory against a strong Sport-Club Freiburg on matchday 13 of the Bundesliga.
Boris Rupert reporting
Marco Reus gave his team the lead from the spot in the 40' minute in front of 81,365 spectators in a sold-out Signal Iduna Park. The win was only made perfect during added time, when Paco Alcácer netted to take the score to 2-0.
It was the division's first-placed team against eleventh. BVB had already won almost two thirds of their previous fixtures against Sport-Club Freiburg, their best win rate against any club. The Freiburg men had only lost one of their previous six Bundesliga matches, but had not won against BVB since 2010, meaning they have not had to wait longer for a win against any other club.
Besides their captain, Wolf (lacerated knee capsule), Borussia were without Akanji (torn knee-joint capsule) and Pulisic (muscular problem). They were replaced by Hakimi and Sancho. Furthermore, Delaney, Bruun Larsen and Götze came in for Dahoud, Guerreiro and Alcácer, who fell to the bench after playing in the no-score draw against Brugge on Wednesday. As a result, it was the same starting eleven that won 2-1 a week ago against Mainz, with one exception (Diallo for Akanji).
BVB lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 system with high-pressing full-backs. Hakimi in particular was often found venturing high up the pitch down the left-hand side. Freiburg positioned themselves defensively in a 5-4-1 basic formation, but played the ball forwards quickly on gaining possession and courageously threw plenty of players into Dortmund's half of the pitch when doing so.
The match & analysis:
Borussia dominated the game with 68 percent of the possession during the first half. Their tackle success rate was also superior to that of the committed guests hailing from Breisgau, who stood compactly in defence, but who nonetheless could not stop everything from getting through. After 80 seconds, the Borussia men stormed forwards towards goal after winning possession deep in their own half, whereupon Sancho shot from 16 metres out, but Schwolow saved. In the 24' minute, Heintz was able to get a foot in front of Sancho's cross, making it almost impossible for the oncoming Götze to get the ball on target. Shortly after, Bruun Larsen dribbled his way through the 18-yard box in a half-left position, but both Reus and Götze were to be denied by a defensive leg (28').
Directly after a substitution that had been forced by injury (Toprak replaced Zagadou), Sancho worked his way past Heintz in the right of the box before the Freiburg player trod on his right foot. Referee Willenborg did not hesitate to point to the spot. Reus kept his cool in the face of Schwolow as the keeper moved about on the line and fired straight down the middle for 1-0 (40'). However, the visiting side almost produced the perfect response straight away: Gondorf's free-kick from 29 metres out smacked off the underside of the bar before bouncing in front of goal (41').
Just two minutes after the restart, Reus could have taken the game to 2-0. He was able to get a shot off on goal in the 18-yard box after capitalising on one of the few big mistakes made by the visiting side, but was unable to get past Schwolow. BVB had the game back under their control, but were unable to exert any real pressure on a very active Freiburg team that went in pursuit of the ball early. This meant it took until the 79' minute before they made for danger again: Piszczek's howitzer from a half-right position smashed against the crossbar. During injury time, Alcácer finished off a counterattacking move that went via Sancho, with the Englishman going past two Freiburg men before passing intelligently to the unmarked Piszczek on the right-hand side. As a result, the 2-0 victory was secured.
There are two "English weeks" to be played during the run up to Christmas: the 153rd Ruhr Derby will get these underway next Saturday (15:30 CET) away at FC Schalke 04. After that, there is the away game against Monaco.