Borussia Dortmund got back to winning ways as they defeated Freiburg 4-0 at home thanks to yet another brace from Erling Haaland.
Jadon Sancho was absent from the hosts’ squad - a consequence of illness, Dortmund say - but that will fuel speculation over his future and a potential move to Manchester United, despite the German club insisting he will not leave.
Haaland, another precociously talented 20-year-old, scored after 31 minutes, his first-time finish finding the far corner after Dortmund won back possession in the opposition half and Gio Reyna set him up.
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Dortmund had been underwhelming up to that point, but turned the style on after they went ahead and could easily have been up by more than just the one goal at the break. Reyna scuffed an effort narrowly wide after doing well to beat two defenders, while Florian Muller made a fine double save to deny Emre Can and Mats Hummels from a corner.
Any hope of a Freiburg comeback was effectively ended within two minutes of then restart as Can headed in from corner, powering past Muller after the visitors failed to mark him.
Haaland then made it three in style, slamming home another first-time finish after being set up again by Reyna, who laid on all three assists.
The Norwegian had an ideal chance to complete his hat-trick in stoppage time, racing trough on goal, but unselfishly squared for Felix Passlack to tap in instead.
The win - witnessed by 11,500 spectators - ends a two-game losing streak for Dortmund and sees them leapfrog Freiburg, moving second in the table for now.
No Sancho, no problem. With Sancho’s absence threatening to overshadow things, some of Dortmund’s other youngsters gave a timely reminder of just how talented they are. It was also a demonstration either that all hope would not be lost for Dortmund should Sancho leave, or that he should be excited about the talents with which he will share the field this season if indeed he does stay, as Dortmund insist he will.
Haaland’s ability is well-known, and given the lack of elite strikers in the game at present you could argue that he is the player Europe’s biggest clubs should really be after, not Sancho - as talented as the winger is. His two goals, taken well, underlined how advanced his movement is already and showcased some fine finishing. A striker of his quality and with the physical tools required play with his back to goal - even if that doesn’t fully utilise his skillset - will give you a chance in almost any game, and his selflessness in squaring to Passlack late on when the game was already won bodes well for his commitment to the team.
And if Sancho’s calling card in his career to date has been laying on goals, Reyna did a pretty good impression. His three assists, while unspectacular, were effective and indicative of the ruthless streak needed to take any promising young attacking midfielder beyond that promising stage. Add in that Bellingham, who we will get to later, was perhaps the pick of the Dortmund players, and the future looks bright with or without Sancho.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jude Bellingham (Dortmund). He ran the game from midfield and showed composure and ball-winning ability well beyond his years. That he looks so comfortable and in command of this Dortmund midfield already is quite remarkable and he was his side’s best player in the first half, when the game remained in the balance. Bellingham used the ball well, consistently driving Dortmund forward, and made it possible for Reyna and Haaland to do the pretty work further up the field.
Jude Bellingham of Dortmund on the ball
Image credit: Getty Images
31' - GOAL! Dortmund 1-0 Freiburg (Haaland). Dortmund ahead and it's that man Haaland again! They win possession in the opposition half, Reyna slips a pass in behind the defence for Haaland, who has made a smart run, and his left-footed shot across the goalkeeper finds the back of the net.
34' - CLOSE! Bellingham, frustrated after an attacking pass doesn't come off, wins the ball back and shifts it on to Reyna, who dummies past two defenders and shoots from the edge of the box, but sees his bobbling effort go just wide.
47' - GOAL! Dortmund 2-0 Freiburg (Can). Freiburg allow a corner to reach Can, unmarked, who powers a header past Muller to double the advantage.
52' - WHAT A MISS! A good Dortmund move creates space for Reyna on the right and his low cross picks out Witsel, eight yards from goal, but he manages to lash over the bar!
66' - GOAL! Dortmund 3-0 Freiburg (Haaland). It's been coming. Reyna picks up another assist, running at the Freiburg defence before playing a good pass for Haaland, who had made a similar run to the one which produced his first goal, and the Norwegian slams into the roof of the net with an emphatic finish.
90+2' - GOAL! Dortmund 4-0 Freiburg (Passlack). Haaland, through on goal, could have a third but instead puts it on a plate for Passlack, who taps in.
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Borussia Dortmund: Hitz 6, Meunier 5, Can 7, Huummels 6, Akanji 6, Guerreiro 6, Bellingham 8, Witsel 7, Reus 6, Reyna 8, Haaland 8. Subs: Passlack 6, Delaney 6, Brandt 6, Schulz 6.
Freiburg: Muller 6, Schmid 5, Heintz 5, Lienhart 5, Gulde 6, Gunter 5, Sallai 5, Hofler 5, Santamaria 5, Holer 5, Petersen 5. Subs: Kwon 6, Schlotterbeck 5, Grifo 6, Jeong 5.
- It is now five goals in four games for Haaland so far this season.
- Dortmund are 19 games unbeaten versus Freiburg, winning 16 of those matches.
- Reyna has provided four Bundesliga assists already this season.