Bundesliga roundup: 5-star Dortmund make title statement as Haller scores comeback goal

Bundesliga roundup: 5-star Dortmund make title statement as Haller scores comeback goal
Haller celebrates his first goal since his comeback
Haller celebrates his first goal since his comeback
Borussia Dortmund moved within two points of the Bundesliga leaders with a comprehensive 5-1 win over 10-man Freiburg at Signal Iduna Park. Sébastien Haller scored his first competitive goal since being diagnosed with testicular cancer in the summer to keep up their pursuit of a first title in over a decade.

Dortmund - Freiburg 5-1

This is a ground that Freiburg have struggled at historically, winning just one of their last 22 visits. As such, it came as little surprise that they were under pressure from the off, with Dortmund keen to make their superiority count in the early stages. Danger was coming from the left, with Raphaël Guerreiro narrowly missing an effort at goal before the visitors’ task was made even trickier, when Kiliann Sildillia was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the space of just 75 seconds.

Now with a numerical advantage as well, Die Schwarzgelben wasted little time in rubbing salt in the wound and opening the scoring. Nico Schlotterbeck came back to haunt his former side, as he produced an extraordinary finish to power home from an incredibly tight angle after Freiburg failed to clear a corner. Struggling to hold possession for most of the half, Christian Streich’s men capitalised on some characteristic dopey defending from Dortmund to produce an unlikely equaliser on the stroke of HT. Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle failed to clear their lines, and Lucas Höler punished their sloppiness with a ruthless finish past Gregor Kobel.

Edin Terzić would’ve been furious at the break, seeing his side squander the lead from an incredibly dominant position. Luckily for him, Dortmund responded in style, netting twice within six minutes of the restart to put the game beyond Freiburg. First, Karim Adeyemi produced an intricate one-two with Jude Bellingham, before slotting home his first Bundesliga goal on home soil. Moments later, one of the most popular goals in world football went in, as Haller nodded home his first goal since recovering from illness, on World Cancer Day no less, producing an incredible reaction from fans and teammates alike.

Perhaps the best goal of the game came through Julian Brandt, who unleashed from 25 yards, beating a stranded Mark Flekken via the inside of the post. Giovanni Reyna put icing on the cake of a fourth consecutive win late on, which moved them, at least temporarily, level on points with Bayern Munich. Freiburg, meanwhile, have seen their European hopes dented with a fourth loss from their last seven road trips - with those defeats seeing them concede an alarming 18 goals!

Flashscore Man of the Match: Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund)

Bochum - Hoffenheim 5-2

Bochum conceded in under a minute on their last time out as they fell to a heavy 5-2 defeat away at Mainz, so rightfully Der Blau would've wanted to make amends and start the game strong. The home side applied a lot of early pressure and made a breakthrough midway through the first half. Some wonderful work down the left wing by Christopher Antwi-Adjei worked some space for the Ghanaian, before he put a ball across the face of goal for Philipp Hofmann to tap into the empty net.

Der Blau’s added a second after 30 minutes, Antwi-Adjei was the provider again as he cut the ball back to Philipp Förster for the German to place a beautifully placed strike beyond Baumann and into the bottom left corner. Bochum added a well deserved third before the break. The goal came from Takuma Asano, as he picked the ball up in midfield before racing past multiple defenders and placing the ball calmly beyond the goalkeeper.

Hoffenheim have struggled for form this season, picking up just one win since September. The visitors did manage to pull a goal back shortly after the break to give themselves a fighting chance. The goal came from a fantastic individual run from Cristoph Baumgartner who beat his man before drilling a low shot in at the near post. Die Kraichgauer’s resurgence didn’t last though, as it was Bochum who scored the next goal. Erhan Mašovic grabbed his second in as many games as he directed a pinpoint header across the keeper and into the far corner. The visitors pulled another back 15 minutes from time when Dabbur was fastest to react to a loose ball to place it into the bottom corner.

The hosts weren’t done yet though as they struck back to restore their three goal lead. Substitute Moritz Broschinski was the man to extend the lead as he found himself through on goal before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner. The comprehensive victory was enough to carry Bochum out of the bottom three and level on points with the visitors, who are looking like they may finish outside of the top ten despite having done so in seven of their last nine seasons.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Christopher Antwi-Adjei (VFL Bochum)

Frankfurt - Hertha 3-0

Following their impressive 1-1 draw away to record champions last weekend, Mario Götze insisted Frankfurt would continue to push for the title, despite their tag as rank outsiders. Well, during a first half that the Eagles dominated from start to finish, a Randal Kolo Muani brace demonstrated why Götze’s comments were justified. The on-form French international kicked things off from the spot, having been brought down in the area himself, before adding a second with a composed finish from 10 yards out just seven minutes later.

As the saying goes, 2-0 is the most dangerous scoreline in football and the home side may have seen their lead slashed in half if it wasn’t for the excellence of veteran goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. Brought on to change his side’s fortunes at HT, Jessic Ngankam connected well with a driven strike, but Trapp, who was chasing his 50th Bundesliga clean sheet, denied the young forward from netting his first goal of the campaign.

From thereon in, the task for Eintracht was simple: control the game and deny Hertha any route back into the contest. There was even time for Eintracht to add a third goal late in the day, with Aurélio Buta squeezing home a deflected effort to cap off a statement victory from Frankfurt. The win takes Frankfurt into fifth place, with the Eagles capitalising on sides around them dropping points. For Hertha, their future looks much bleaker, as Die Alte Dame sink even further into the Bundesliga relegation zone.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Koln - Leipzig 0-0

RB Leipzig have been in scintillating form of late, having gone the last eleven league matches unbeaten, and found themselves just two points from FC Bayern at the league’s summit ahead of this game. Cologne, buoyed by their unbeaten restart since the World Cup, were looking for just a second win in eight games against today’s opponents to take them back into European contention.

The home side were in for an early scare when Timo Werner got behind the defence, but he could only shoot wide of the right post. Cologne were remarkable 7-1 victors against Werder Bremen in their last home game, and inspired by Steffen Baumgart’s scampering up and down the touchline, they grew into the game with confidence. The first clear-cut chances of the match were crafted on the counter attack by Leipzig, however, and efforts from both André Silva and Werner were thwarted by excellent saves from Marvin Schwäbe. Despite the pressure, Cologne worked tirelessly, and went closest to the opener when Jonas Hector put Linton Maina clean through on goal, but his curled finish fired off the inside of the post and into the path of Dejan Ljubičić, who sensationally also struck the woodwork.

Leipzig continued their counter-attacking philosophy after HT, and they had the ball in the net almost instantly, following some interplay between Silva and Werner, but it was ruled out for offside. Hard work has been key in Cologne’s style of play this season, and the endless running of Ellyes Skhiri and Eric Martel in the centre of the park allowed them to control a second half consisting of few chances, particularly for Marco Rose’s side. The match continued to peter out, and both sides were left frustrated in their inability to trouble the opposition goal.

A point will most likely be met with more enthusiasm for mid-table Cologne than title-chasers Leipzig, and Rose will need to focus on his side’s potency in attack ahead of next week’s matchup against Union Berlin. They will have confidence, however, given that only FC Bayern have scored more goals than them so far this season.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Ellyes Skhiri (FC Cologne)

Union - Mainz 2-1

The hosts were ultimately unable to sign former Real Madrid midfielder Isco on deadline day, but they did manage to add three players to their squad in January, and one of their recent arrivals, Jérôme Roussillon, produced the first effort on target in the 10th minute. The 30-year-old attempted to fire the ball in at the near post, but Finn Dahmen dived down low to his right to smartly push the strike away from danger. Just moments later, Union went close again, with Rani Khedira glancing a header wide of the Mainz goal.

Although Die Eisernen had to be patient, their dominance was finally rewarded just after the half-hour mark when Kevin Behrens poked the ball home from Paul Seguin’s teasing delivery. After taking a lead into HT, the hosts began the second period in a similar manner to how they started the first, with Roussillon testing Dahmen with a driven strike.

Mainz racked up five goals in their last league game, but they were finding it difficult to carve out opportunities against a Union backline that entered the weekend with the joint second-best defensive record in the top-flight. With Mainz losing hope, they were gifted the chance to level from the spot following Seguin’s handball. Former Union striker Marcus Ingvartsen assumed the responsibility, and coolly placed his spot-kick beyond Frederik Rønnow.

Urs Fischer made an immediate triple substitution following the equaliser, and it proved to be an inspired move, as Siebatcheu came off the bench to thump the ball past Dahmen six minutes from time. Mainz were fingertips away from finding another leveller, but Rønnow produced a fine stop to thwart Karim Onisiwo, ensuring Union avoided defeat in all four of their home Bundesliga meetings with Mainz.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Kevin Behrens (Union Berlin)