Just in time for the start of the first "busy period" of the season, Borussia Dortmund secured a key victory. On Matchday 4 of the Bundesliga season, BVB came back from 2-1 down at half-time to claim a 4-2 away win against SC Freiburg.
Boris Rupert reporting from Freiburg
Mats Hummels gave BVB the lead in the 11th minute in front of 34,700 spectators in the sold-out Europa-Park-Stadion. However, the goal did not have the desired effect on the Black and Yellows. Instead, it awakened the passive Freiburg side, who increasingly grew into the game, and in first half injury time, they took a 2-1 lead with goals from Lucas Höler and Nicolas Höfler. Donyell Malen equalised for BVB after an hour, and in the closing stages, it was Hummels again with his second goal of the afternoon and substitute Marco Reus who scored the goals to give Dortmund an important three points.
Eighth against ninth. Freiburg had started the season with six points from their first three games. BVB were on five points. Borussia Dortmund have a better overall head-to-head record against SC Freiburg than against any other Bundesliga side, having won 30 of the previous 46 encounters between the two sides, including the last three meetings with an aggregate scoreline of 13-3. Freiburg had won three of their last four home games, stretching back to the end of last season, and had kept back-to-back clean sheets at home.
Head coach Edin Terzic had to do without Julien Duranville and Giovanni Reyna in addition to longer-term absentees Thomas Meunier and Mateu Morey. Niclas Füllkrug was fit enough for the bench. There were two changes from the 2-2 draw against Heidenheim last time out, with Julian Ryerson and Mats Hummels starting in place of Marius Wolf and Niklas Süle.
BVB set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Marcel Sabitzer operating in a dual pivot, alongside Emre Can, but with licence to roam into the space behind the front three while BVB were in possession. Julian Brandt was pulling the strings in the centre of the attack, with Donyell Malen and Karim Adeyemi repeatedly swapping sides on the wings. Without the ball, BVB set up in two banks of four, with Brandt and Sébastien Haller up front. Freiburg began in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Sallai and Kübler occasionally joined the back three to create a back-five. Höler and Doan operated behind Gregoritsch up front.
The match & analysis:
BVB had a number of corners in the opening stages, with Ginter forced to make a vital clearance, getting in front of a Dortmund player waiting for a tap-in after just 5 minutes. After ten minutes, Dortmund had already forced their fourth corner. Brandt swung it in from the right, finding Mats Hummels in a surprising amount of space at the far corner of the six yard box. The BVB defender took full advantage of the opportunity, placing a powerful header into the far corner in the 11th minute. That meant the Dortmund stalwart extended his run of scoring to 16 consecutive Bundesliga seasons.
Three minutes earlier, the Black Yellow had squandered a chance to take the lead. After an intercepted Freiburg corner, Brandt drove the ball forward at speed, finding Adeyemi down the right, but he played his pass behind Malen and Haller.
Borussia Dortmund dominated the game until around the 30th minute. Until then, they had been winning the majority of the duels, without creating any further chances. Freiburg were forced into an early change – and from that point on, they got more of a foothold in the game. Grifo came on for Gregoritsch, with Höler moving into the heart of the attack on 28 minutes. Shortly afterwards, Schlotterbeck blocked a free-kick cross from Grifo, but the ball fell to Lienhardt, who hit the outside of the post from just outside the 18-yard box. Grifo found space in the box, but his header went straight into the arms of Kobel in the 38th minute, before Doan missed the target from 16 metres out two minutes later.
Borussia could not hold on to their lead going into the half-time break. Quite to the contrary. In the second minute of injury time at the end of the first half, Höler, standing with his back to the goal, didn't get much on the end of a Grifo cross, but Kobel could not stop it finding the back of the BVB net to make it 1-1. The five minutes on the board were already up when Freiburg were awarded another free kick. Grifo put it on a plate for Höfler, who found himself in space and nodded home to give the home side a 2-1 lead in the sixth minute of injury time. Freiburg had won only 40 percent of the duels in the first 20 minutes. By the time they had taken the lead before the half-time whistle, that number had jumped to 56 percent.
Marius Wolf came on for Rami Bensebaini at the start of the second half, with Ryerson moving out to the left of the back-four. Nine minutes after the restart, Brandt was through on goal after a mistake by Gulde, but fired narrowly wide from the inside right of the penalty area. Eggestein followed suit with a near miss at the other end. That prompted BVB head coach Terzic to make a double substitution: after just under an hour, Füllkrug and Felix Nmecha came on to replace Haller and Adeyemi.
Malen and Füllkrug operated as a strike partnership, and they quickly linked up, bypassing the Freiburg midfield with a clever one-two. Malen was clean through, and made no mistake, finding the bottom corner for his third goal of the season on 61 minutes. Immediately after the equaliser, however, BVB did not take full advantage of the momentum, initially playing rather cautiously. For the last 20 minutes, Marco Reus came on for Brandt, who had been running tirelessly all afternoon.
BVB would have an extra man during the closing stages after Höfler saw red for a foul on Sabitzer in the 82nd minute. Moukoko came on for Can as Terzic threw on another attacker. With Freiburg temporarily down to nine men as Lienhart was receiving treatment off the pitch, Hummels took advantage of confusion in the Freiburg penalty area after a Reus free kick and prodded home to give BVB a 3-2 lead with two minutes of regulation time remaining. In the third minute of injury time, Wolf played in Reus, who found himself clean through down the inside right, and duly placed the ball in the back of the net for the 4-2 final score.
The first midweek games of the season are almost upon us: on Tuesday, BVB will get their Champions League campaign underway with a trip to Paris St. Germain. Kick-off in that one is at 21:00 CET. Next Saturday (kick-off: 15:30), BVB will play host to VfL Wolfsburg at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK.
Teams & goals
Football Bundesliga, Matchday 4
SPORT-CLUB FREIBURG – BORUSSIA DORTMUND 2-4 (2-1)
SC Freiburg: Atubolu – Lienhart, Ginter, Gulde – Sallai, Eggestein, Höfler, Kübler (Schmidt, 84) – Doan (Röhl, 84), Höler (Adamu, 77) – Gregoritsch (Grifo, 28)
Bor. Dortmund: Kobel – Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini (Wolf, 46) – Sabitzer, Can – Adeyemi (Nmecha, 59), Brandt (Reus, 71), Malen – Haller (Füllkrug, 59)
Bench: Müller, Weißhaupt, Sildillia, Philipp, Makengo – Meyer, Özcan, Moukoko, Süle, Bynoe-Gittens
Goals: 0-1 Hummels (11, Brandt), 1-1 Höler (45+2, Grifo), 2-1 Höfler (45+6, Grifo), 2-2 Malen (61, Füllkrug), 2-3 Hummels (88, Reus), 2-4 Reus (90+3, Wolf)
Corners: 6-8 (half-time 4-7), Shots: 6-7 (4-2)
Referee: Stieler (Hamburg), Red card: Höfler (82nd, serious foul play), Yellow cards: Lienhart – Bensebaini, Wolf, Can
Attendance: 34,700 (sold out), Weather: Bright with sunny spells, 27 degrees