What a win! Borussia Dortmund steamrolled SC Freiburg 4-0 after a rocky start, with a pair of goals from Erling Håland and a goal apiece from Emre Can and Felix Passlack. While the first 30 minutes left much to be desired, BVB were eventually able to find their offensive form and ran roughshod over Freiburg for the final 60 minutes, led by exquisite performances from Gio Reyna and Erling Håland. Here are some brief observations:
The Young Guns Reign Supreme
I’ll discuss the positive impacts of some of the veterans like Marco Reus in a bit, but first we can’t talk about this game without talking about Gio Reyna. Like the rest of the team he started quiet, but his quality inevitably began to shine through, and he was rewarded with three assists. He’s only 17, but he’s already strong enough to hold off defenders and he has the vision and passing ability necessary to slide in through-balls to Håland. Two of his assists came from quick transitions where BVB won the ball in midfield before finding Reyna, who can make defenders back off and give Håland the space to receive the ball in dangerous areas.
Speaking of Håland, what more can you say? When he gets running he’s almost impossible to play against, and all he needs is a tiny amount of space and a good through-ball for him to pounce. He had two expert finishes, one a perfectly-placed low shot, and another a smashed shot into the top corner. He looked very hungry for a third goal to complete the hat trick, which made it that much more impressive when he had a clear-cut chance to score in the final minutes, but instead he squared the ball to Felix Passlack, who has had a rough start to his BVB career. It was a perfect example of unselfishly putting a teammate above yourself.
Marco Reus Did the Grunt Work
Reus didn’t find the scoresheet so you might think he had a quiet game, but this was absolutely not the case. He was all over the pitch creating chances for BVB, often by forcing turnovers from Freiburg. He played a key role in BVB’s first goal, winning the ball with a challenge in the middle of the pitch and then picking out Gio Reyna with a quick pass. Reus wasn’t given an assist, but he was just as responsible for the goal as Reyna and Håland.
Reus also had a very dangerous headed chance courtesy of a cross from Jude Bellingham, but heading has never been Marco’s forte, and he looped it over the bar.
Borussia Dortmund Got off to Another Weak Start
While the final score makes today’s performance seem like a great match, the fact is that for 30 minutes, it looked like we were in for another Augsburg match. Freiburg were doing a good job keeping BVB out of the middle of the pitch and Dortmund were having trouble stringing together passes out of the back. BVB’s goal eventually came not from passing out the back but from pressing high and creating a turnover further up the pitch.
Every time one of the center backs played the ball to Axel Witsel, he only had a few options: either play the ball to Jude Bellingham and try to link up with the forwards, lay it out to one of the wing backs, or play it back to the center backs. Freiburg were doing a good job double-manning Bellingham, so Witsel could only either play it to the wing backs where Freiburg could pinch in along the touchline, or pass it back to the center backs and start the process again.
This problem was solved once BVB scored and Freiburg had to overextend themselves to chase a goal, but it’s going to continue to be an issue until BVB can work out a way to play through a mid-block.
A Win Headed into the International Break
I stated in my match preview that it was very important to Borussia Dortmund to enter the international break with a win. This means that BVB can feel confident while still being aware of the fact that they still have things to work on. Hopefully the Jadon Sancho drama will resolve itself and BVB can focus on stringing together more wins in the Bundesliga and winning their group in the Champions League.
What did you observe during BVB’s dominant 4-0 win against Freiburg? Leave your thoughts below.