When Borussia Dortmund hosted Christian Streich’s Freiburg on Saturday afternoon, everyone would have expected it to be a close affair. Freiburg have quietly been one of the Bundesliga’s best sides for the past couple of seasons, and before today’s match, they were even on points with the Black and Yellows. The game took a dark turn for Freiburg in the first half, when Kiliann Sildillia got sent off at the 17-minute mark after getting a second yellow for fouling Karim Adeyemi at the edge of the penalty box. Even though Lucas Höler managed to equalize for Freiburg just before the break, the game would soon be over after a quick barrage of goals from Die Schwarzgelben at the start of the second half. Here are a few observations from today’s win.
Sebastien Haller gets his first goal in front of the Yellow Wall
Wauw... What a moment of pure euphoria. When Sebastien Haller headed in Raphael Guerrerio’s cross in the 51th minute, the whole stadium erupted. This is exactly the kind of goal Sebastien Haller has been providing at both Eintracht Frankfurt and Ajax Amsterdam. This goal will not only be a boost for Haller himself, but it will also lift a huge burden off the team. Getting the Ivorian striker going will be crucial going forward, and honestly, he has totally earned it. Haller has been an immensely hard worker on and off the pitch through his time in Dortmund, and today everything paid off.
Adeyemi picks up speed
The young German found the scoresheet yet again today with a very well taken goal inside the penalty box. But even before he eventually scored, he was a total menace to Freiburg’s right side. Kiliann Sildillia simply could not contain the speed and footwork from the young winger, and he managed to draw fouls time and time again. While Donyell Malen is currently riding the bench, something has clearly clicked for Adeyemi, and we can only hope that this trend continues. Also - the celebration was really good. Move over, Auba, we got another acrobat among us now.
The right conditions for Raphael Guerreiro
The Portuguese has been handed a lot of criticism this season, and rightly so. He has often sold out his defensive compatriots by not tracking back, and his offensive output hasn’t at all reached the heights of earlier seasons. For a player who likes to linger around in the final third, the early red card was the perfect gift. With Dortmund a man up, Rapha could fully commit to offensive duties for the rest of the match. The Portuguese international managed a true vintage display, registering three great - and very different assists across his 90 minutes on the pitch. He made a perfect cross for Haller, a lovely through-ball to Brandt and a cheeky layoff for Gio Reyna. Today’s performance from Rapha really makes you question why he hasn’t been played in a more offensive role throughout his Dortmund career.
- What a delight to see both Marco Reus and Mo Dahoud return today. We’ll need everyone fit if we want to achieve something this season, and we all know how good both of these players can be.
- Gio Reyna has five goals so far this season - one goal every 86 minutes. That’s actually ridiculous, and it just goes to show what an immense talent he actually is.
- Julian Brandt played an absolutely ridiculous game today. He did exactly what he needed to do after Sildillia got sent off. He managed four key passes, a 92% (!!) passing rate and one amazing goal today. The Julian Brandt we’ve been waiting for is slowly but surely revealing himself.
What do you think of today’s match? Was the red card too harsh? Are Freiburg still fit for the European spots? Let me know in the comments below!