Erling Haaland scored a brace as Borussia Dortmund secured a comprehensive 5-1 win over SC Freiburg to revive their Bundesliga title hopes.

Borussia Dortmund extended their perfect start to 2022 with a resounding 5-1 victory over SC Freiburg on Friday night. The win helped them momentarily close the gap to Bayern Munich at the top to just three points, with the Bavarians facing a tricky test against 1.FC Koln on Saturday afternoon.

It was one of the most clinical performances from Borussia Dortmund under the leadership of Marco Rose, with the team starting the game well right from the beginning. They looked energetic, efficient and their diamond shape under Rose worked to its full potential as they ran rings around a Freiburg side that was unable to play the ball out of their own half.

Dortmund’s early pressure was duly rewarded in the 14th minute, though in an unlikely fashion, as Thomas Meunier headed home a brilliant cross from Julian Brandt. The Belgian right-back doubled his tally in a similar fashion around the half-hour mark before Erling Haaland further increased the lead with a calm finish past Benjamin Uphoff at the stroke of half-time.

Freiburg looked far more dangerous in the second half as Dortmund took a foot off the gas pedal. They even applied early pressure, which paid off when Ermedin Demirovic pulled one back for his team. But hopes of a potential comeback were soon shattered when Haaland doubled his tally in the 75th minute, effectively sealing the three points for his side.

However, there was still time for another goal as Mahmoud Dahoud added further gloss to the scoreline by capitalising on Nico Schulz’s cross late in the game. His clinical effort helped him score the fifth goal of the night. Here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Borussia Dortmund players following their brilliant win over SC Freiburg on Friday.

Gregor Kobel: 6.5/10

Gregor Kobel had to be alert early on in the second half when Freiburg piled on the pressure on the Dortmund defence. He even made a couple of good saves, but a lack of support from the defenders meant he conceded the goal to Ermedin Demirovic around the hour mark. He will once again be disappointed with the missed clean sheet.

Thomas Meunier: 9/10

Thomas Meunier was one of the star performers in the game for Borussia Dortmund. He set the tone early for his team with two goals within the half-hour mark. He looked in sync with other attackers going forward, creating quite a few scoring opportunities, though he did struggle a bit defensively in the second half. The right-back even picked up a slight niggle which fans would hope is not too serious.

Emre Can: 6.5/10

Emre Can operated at the heart of the Dortmund defence once again, ahead of Marin Pongracic and Manuel Akanji, who was not fully fit. He looked comfortable at the heart of the Dortmund backline and did rather well to play on till half-time despite picking up a knock early on in the proceedings. He was replaced by Akanji at half-time.

Mats Hummels: 6.5/10

Mats Hummels started the game well, nullifying any source of danger from the Freiburg attack. However, the veteran was not as solid in the second half and should have done much better to prevent Roland Sallai from making an effort on goal, the rebound of which led to Demirovic’s goal around the hour mark.

Raphael Guerreiro: 6/10

It was not the best of performances from Raphael Guerreiro. The left-back looked confident in his offensive play, linking up well with the likes of Marco Reus and Donyell Malen out wide. However, he was not able to create any clear-cut opportunities and looked tired in the second half. He was subbed off for Nico Schulz during the final phase of the game.

Julian Brandt: 8.5/10

Julian Brandt continued his brilliant run of form with yet another mesmerising effort in midfield. He was the creator-in-chief for a Dortmund team that looked in good shape, even in the press. Brandt looked much more assured in possession as well, and more importantly, bagged two assists within the first half an hour.

Mahmoud Dahoud: 9/10

THT’s Player to Watch heading into this game, Mahmoud Dahoud lived up to the expectations with yet another exemplary performance in midfield. His dynamic role in the second line of press enabled him to create multiple turnovers, one of which even led to the third goal. He later capped off his performance with an assist for Haaland in the second half before scoring the final goal of the game with a neat finish.

Jude Bellingham: 8.5/10

Jude Bellingham was another top performer for Borussia Dortmund in the middle of the park. His silky footwork, never-ending fighting spirit and the sense of aggression in his game were simply too much for Freiburg to handle. The midfielder deservedly bagged an assist for Haaland’s goal late in the first half and has now created ten goals in all competitions this term.

Marco Reus: 7/10

Marco Reus had a slightly underwhelming game for Dortmund compared to his teammates on Friday. He played a vital role in Marco Rose’s diamond formation, offering defensive support and creativity in the final third. However, he looked a bit tired and was rightly taken off around the 71st minute of the game.

Donyell Malen: 7.5/10

Donyell Malen could not bag a goal against Freiburg, but he was an impressive attacking outlet for Die Schwarzgelben in the final third. The Dutchman showed excellent energy, while most of his mazy runs were quite useful in creating an opening. Malen deserved a goal in this game, but he will be delighted with his performance nonetheless.

Erling Haaland: 9/10

Erling Haaland put an end to his scoring slump, consisting of a grand total of two games, when he netted Dortmund’s third goal late in the first half. The Norwegian looked in good touch, showing excellent energy and fighting spirit while his physical attributes proved to be too much for a depleted Freiburg backline that lacked solidity in defence. He has now netted 15 goals in the Bundesliga and is looking to close in on Patrik Schick and Robert Lewandowski.

SUBSTITUTES

Manuel Akanji: 6/10

Manuel Akanji made his return from injury by replacing Can at half-time. However, the Swiss international looked off the pace, which was understandable given his lack of game-time lately. He will be looking to settle into the rhythm in the coming games and is set to play a vital role in the title race.

Thorgan Hazard: 6.5/10

Thorgan Hazard applied more energy in the Dortmund attack after replacing Reus in the 71st minute. Although the Belgian could not replicate his cameo from the last game, he was a crucial outlet on the counter.

Nico Schulz: 6.5/10

Nico Schulz replaced Guerreiro during the final phase of the proceedings, making an immediate impact by registering the assist for Dahoud’s late goal.

Marius Wolf: 6/10

Marius Wolf looked slow on the turn after coming on for the injured Meunier. He will be hoping to get a few appearances in the coming matches, especially if the Belgian has picked up a serious issue.

Axel Witsel: N/A

A late replacement for Bellingham. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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