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Fullkrug and Malen on fire as Dortmund ease past Freiburg amid fan protest

Donyell Malen netted twice in the win
Borussia Dortmund claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over SC Freiburg, who succumbed to a third consecutive Bundesliga defeat for the first time since November 2021 – a game that saw a tennis ball protest against private investment in the top two German divisions.

It is an understatement to say Freiburg have not enjoyed their recent trips to the Westfalenstadion, considering the Breisgau-Brasilianer had lost 14 and drawn one of their previous 15 visits to the stadium.

Christian Streich’s side would have had that same sinking feeling once again when Donyell Malen broke the deadlock in Der BVB’s favour at the end of a wonderful free-flowing move.

Marcel Sabitzer played in Niclas Fullkrug, who in turn teed up the Dutchman to rifle home an unstoppable right-footed strike past Noah Atubolu.

Michael Gregoritsch sought to provide an immediate response for the visitors when his header was saved by Gregor Kobel, but Streich was dealt another blow shortly after following the withdrawal of Manuel Gulde.

The centre-back was forced off injured following a challenge on Mallen, and Attila Szalai entered the fray. However, the match was paused as tennis balls cascaded down the stands along with fake gold coins, after clubs from the Bundesliga’s top two divisions voted to sell a minority stake in the league’s media rights business.

Play resumed with 12 minutes of first-half stoppage time, as Malen made up for lost time by adding his second via a devastating angled strike from another Fullkrug assist before the break.

Edin Terzic’s side maintained their stranglehold on the contest after the break, with Atubolu called into a smart save to push away a superb long-range strike from Jamie Bynoe-Gittens.

Füllkrug was looking to add a goal to his two assists on the night but was also thwarted by the Freiburg shot-stopper after meeting Julian Ryerson’s delivery from the right-hand side.

There threatened to be another stoppage with several tennis balls spotted on the pitch again, but no lengthy delay ensued on this occasion. Mallen was having a superb night and could have added three assists to his goals, brilliantly teeing up two efforts for Marco Reus and one for Ian Maatsen.

Streich’s men were enjoying a purple patch in the contest late on in the game, and Maximilian Philipp threatened to spark a nervy finish for the hosts with his attempt, but there was still time for another goal from the hosts.

Fullkrug expertly anticipated Maatsen’s sumptuous cross to round off an excellent night’s work for Terzic’s men in the closing stages.