Borussia Dortmund picked up a vital 3-0 win on the road against Freiburg, delivering one of their most comprehensive performances of the season. A week without a midweek fixture saw the Ruhr side remarkably refreshed.
The Black and Yellows enter a busy stretch of matches in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League. It was very important that they managed to carry the momentum from their 3-0 home win against VfL Wolfsburg into that period. As mentioned above, it was one of Dortmund's most comprehensive performances, as they dominated the hosts for almost the entire 90 minutes, leaving very little doubt about the outcome.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended his dry spell with a brace, while BVB picked up their first clean sheet away from home. It seems like the Westphalians have hit form just as the decisive stretch of the season arrived.
Dortmund only had themselves to blame for not having put the game to bed at half-time, as they spurned a handful of high-quality chances.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Left his team captain Marcel Schmelzer on the bench to deploy Raphael Guerreiro as a left wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation, while Erik Durm mused the right wing-back. It worked like a charm against Freiburg.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 6 -- Had to make a couple of saves, but nothing too spectacular was asked of him at his old club.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 7 -- Had the second-highest passing accuracy (88.5%) of all starters, as he had multiple passing options in front of him most of the time, courtesy of the system.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 9 -- It took a centre-back to score the opener for Dortmund, as the attackers fluffed chances left, right and centre. The header from a set piece in the 13th minute was just the cherry on top of a solid defensive performance.
DF Marc Bartra, 8 -- Bartra's good form continues, as he is full of confidence at the moment. Bartra's consistency is extremely good news for Tuchel -- but it is also down to BVB's cohesive pressing upfront and in midfield that the backline wasn't horribly caught out
MF Erik Durm, 8 -- The relentless Durm was utilized to take the air out of Vincenzo Grifo's sails. The Freiburg midfielder is an important part of Christian Streich's setup, and eliminating him was key to Dortmund's dominance. Durm kept oversight in the 70th minute, squaring the ball for Aubameyang's second after a well-timed run.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 7 -- A good game by Castro, with a lot of silky through-balls.
MF Julian Weigl, 9 -- Never ever give Weigl time and space in midfield as an opposing coach. Freiburg did and were punished dearly for it. The 21-year-old roamed, dominating the midfield with ease. He instigated BVB's second goal by playing a pinpoint pass over the top of Freiburg's defence to find Marco Reus.
MF Raphael Guerreiro, 7 -- Playing as the left wing-back, Guerreiro could be the catalyst for BVB's forward momentum on the left side -- it was probably the reason why he was picked instead of Schmelzer in this game. He grabbed an assist as Sokratis connected with his free kick.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 8 -- Not his best game, yet another enticing performance. The 19-year-old instigated Dortmund's third with a clever through-ball to Durm. He passed opposing defenders with ease but had a couple of hiccups in his game as well.
FW Marco Reus, 9 -- Had the audacity to nutmeg Freiburg centre-back Caglar Soyuncu twice with the same trick in this game. After the second time, he lined up Aubameyang for the simplest of tap-ins.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 -- Got the monkey off his back by scoring a brace after a barrage of wasted opportunities against Benfica and Wolfsburg. He was again the culprit of spurning some excellent chances in the first half, but the two open-net tap-ins might do the trick to reinstate his confidence.
MF Shinji Kagawa, NR -- Brought on in the 76th minute for Ousmane Dembele. Nearly put his name on the scoresheet but put a header from close range just on the wrong side of the post.
FW Andre Schurrle, NR -- Replaced Aubameyang after 81 minutes but couldn't produce much more than a harmless shot from distance.
MF Christian Pulisic, NR -- Got a run-out for eight minutes, had nine touches, but none he will remember at the end of his career.