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Erling Haaland at the double as Dortmund destroy Freiburg

January 14, 2022

Borussia Dortmund beat Freiburg to keep them close to Bayern Munich, but more importantly the performance suggests Dortmund may well have turned a corner this season.

Dortmund players celebrate a goal
Borussia Dortmund delivered one of their best performances of the seasonImage: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Borussia Dortmund 5-1 Freiburg, Signal-Iduna-Park
(Meunier 14', 29', Haaland 45+1', 75', Dahoud 86' — Demirovic 61')

Borussia Dortmund won't want to hear it, but this was the sort of performance that will have many believing Marco Rose's side can compete for the Bundesliga title.

Less than a week after a moral-boosting win in Frankfurt that papered over the cracks of a leaking defense, the same Borussia Dortmund eleven dominated one of the Bundesliga's most in-form sides.

"The first half was terrific in all phases," Marco Rose told DAZN afterwards.

Perhaps it is folly off the back of one fine performance to suggest that Dortmund can compete with Bayern Munich, the team that has won the last nine league titles and a club with superior finances.

But given the opponent and the rollercoaster nature of watching Dortmund this season, this felt like a significant moment, especially following last week's win.

Thomas Meunier (second from the right) heads in a goal
Thomas Meunier scored two goals for the first time since 2014Image: imago images/RHR-Foto

Freiburg felled

To put this victory into context, Freiburg hadn't conceded more than two in a game this season, Dortmund didn't concede a goal from a set-piece against the most dangerous set-piece side in the Bundesliga and the hosts two goals from corners in a game (two Thomas Meunier headers) was something they last did seven years ago. It was a win full of encouraging signs — even Erling Haaland ended a two-game spell where he had not scored.

Perhaps the most encouraging of all signs though, was the performance of Mo Dahoud, who capped a fine midfield display with a lovely, curling goal. Afterwards, Dahoud was quiet in a joint post-match interview with Julian Brandt, leaving his teammate to do most of the talking and only chiming in to say of Brandt's corners: "We call him junior Beckham."

Ultimately, Dortmund outplayed Freiburg. Christian Streich lamented his team's lack of bravery and poor tackling as the visitors were unable to deal with Dortmund's gegenpressing. At the tenth time of asking, Streich left Dortmund still without a win in the city.

As ever with great Dortmund performances, the inevitable question of consistency arises.

"You get consistency through wins, but also through the mind," Julian Brandt said afterwards.

Dortmund won't win every game until the end of the season, but after performances like this it feels possible to believe this team could win enough.