The fourth victory in five matches in 2024! Borussia Dortmund have opened up the Bundesliga Matchday 21 action with a 3-0 (2-0) win against Sportclub Freiburg.

Boris Rupert reporting

BVB were highly clinical in front of 81,365 spectators at a sold-out SIGNAL IDUNA PARK and converted their first two goalscoring opportunities. Donyell Malen scored in the 16th minute and then again in first-half stoppage time – both from Niclas Füllkrug assists – to make it 2-0 at the break. The second period was one-way traffic with plenty of ideas and pressure. Füllkrug headed home the goal to make it 3-0 with three minutes of normal time remaining.

The scenario:   
Fourth versus seventh. Dortmund had won three of their last four league matches. Freiburg, meanwhile, had won only one of their previous five. Borussia had taken 43 out of a possible 45 points from their previous 15 home games against Freiburg.

Personnel matters:   
Everyone with the exception of Nmecha (hip), Haller (Africa Cup of Nations), Öczan (ill) and Duranville (fitness) was available, even if not fit enough to play 90 minutes. Sancho, Brandt and Adeyemi started the match on the bench, as did Hummels and Bensebaini. There were four changes compared to the match in Heidenheim, with Kobel, Ryerson, Can and Reus replacing Meyer, Meunier, Özcan and Moukoko.

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Tactics:   
The approach from the two teams, who both lined up in a 4-2-3-1, was identical on paper only. In reality, Dortmund's build-up play was characterised by major positional changes. Borussia lined up with a back four in defence which left back Maatsen broke free from in possession and moved up alongside Sabitzer in central midfield, while Can dropped back from the double pivot and positioned himself between the two centre-backs. BVB then operated with a 3-2 formation during build-up play with right-back Ryerson advancing high up the pitch.

The match & analysis:
Initially, however, they were not quick and not precise enough to cause problems for the team that has kept the most clean sheets so far this season. Malen's bicycle kick in the 13th minute was the first glimpse of goal, but it was too central to challenge SCF goalkeeper Atubolu. Shortly beforehand, Bynoe-Gittens nutmegged Eggestein in the penalty area, was caught by the leg of the Freiburg player and went down – but it was not a penalty in the eyes of referee Osmers.

Sabitzer drove the ball forward three minutes later and set Füllkrug in motion. He passed the ball into the penalty area to Malen, who under pressure pulled off the perfect combination of ball control, a turn and a hard, well-placed strike that flew into the top-right corner to make it 1-0 (16). BVB also dominated in the period that followed but could not achieve any proper penetration. Sabitzer was closed down by the Freiburg defence (30) and the match was then delayed for 10 minutes when fans in the South Stand threw tennis balls and "gold coins" onto the pitch on several occasions.

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Once played had resumed, they witnessed a well-executed counter via Füllkrug, who played the ball to the feet of Malen, and the Dutchman fired home to make it 2-0 from a centre-right position around 12 metres out (45+7). He then almost picked up his third scorer point: his good cross from the left flank was met on the volley by Ryerson, who fired narrowly wide of the left upright (45+11).

The Black & Yellows continued to dominate proceedings after the interval and sensed the chance to make it 3-0 11 minutes after the restart. Sabitzer played the ball over to the right flank and the very lively Ryerson fizzed it into the middle, where Füllkrug met it on the edge of the six-yard box. But Atubolu reacted splendidly and saved with his foot. Malen's shot from Bynoe-Gittens' cut-back was blocked by a defender and turned behind for a corner (66). Then there was another disruption to the play, this time caused by the away fans.

Borussia kept at it and grew stronger by the minute. Malen also showed his qualities as a provider. He first of all played a perfect cross to Reus, whose header was turned behind for a corner by the fingertips of Atubolu (71), and then had the vision in the box to pick out Maatsen, whose shot thundered against the woodwork (72). And Malen was also involved in the best Dortmund attack up until that point when he played Maatsen's pass perfectly into the path of Reus, whose shot from a centre-left position went millimetres wide of the left post (75).

After a short spell of Freiburg pressure, Brandt passed the ball to Maatsen and his no-look cross picked out Füllkrug, whose header from six metres out found the back of the net (87). Substitute Sancho was then denied by the goalkeeper (90).

Outlook:
Borussia Dortmund will be in action away to VfL Wolfsburg next Saturday. Kick-off is at 15:30 CET.

Teams & goals

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Bundesliga Matchday 21
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3-0 (2-0) SC FREIBURG

Bor. Dortmund: Kobel – Ryerson (Wolf, 79), Süle, Schlotterbeck, Maatsen (Morey, 88) – Sabitzer, Can (Hummels, 88) – Malen, Reus (Sancho, 88), Bynoe-Gittens (Brandt, 68) – Füllkrug
SC Freiburg: Atubolu – Kübler, Sildillia, Gulde (Szalai, 23), Makengo (Günter, 79) – Eggestein, Höfler – Sallai (Philipp, 79), Höler, Grifo (Weißhaupt, 59) – Gregoritsch (Doan, 59)
Substitutes: Meyer, Bensebaini, Moukoko, Adeyemi – Müller, Keitel, Muslija
Goals: 1-0 Malen (Füllkrug, 16), 2-0 Malen (Füllkrug, 45+7), 3-0 Füllkrug (Maatsen, 87)
Corners: 5-2 (1-2 at half-time), chance ratio: 8-0 (3-0)
Referee: Osmers (Hanover), yellow cards: Ryerson, Malen
Attendance: 81,365 (sold-out), weather: dry, 11 degrees