Donyal Malen scored twice in the first half as Borussia Dortmund recorded a 3-0 home win over Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Friday. Striker Niklas Fuelkrug, who was celebrating his 31st birthday, scored both goals for the Netherlands winger before he got an own goal in the closing stages. The win moves Dortmund four points ahead of fifth-placed RB Leipzig, with the Saxons playing at Augsburg on Saturday. Malen, who was linked with a move away from Dortmund in the winter transfer window, has now scored four goals in his last four games.
“We had the right intensity from the beginning and we scored at the right time,” Malen told DAZN. “We've made some good steps since the winter (break).”
Dortmund have taken 13 points from five league games to boost their bid for a Champions League place.
“I wished for a win on my birthday – and maybe a little birthday cake too,” Fuelkrug told DAZN.
Coach Edin Terzic could call upon the services of a number of players returning to the first team, including Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Julian Ryerson as well as Englishman Jadon Sancho, who started on the bench.
In the 16th minute, Malen was troubled by Fuelkrug, who with his back to goal picked up the ball and found the Dutchman, who turned and scored from the spot before firing a rocket into the roof of the net.
Feulkrug was again the second provider for Dortmund, holding the ball on the counter-attack before passing to Malen, who blasted in and across the face of goal.
The goal happened in injury time of the first half. The match was delayed 12 minutes due to fans throwing tennis balls onto the field as part of ongoing league-wide protests against foreign investment in German football.
“I can understand the fans, it's their platform and they want to use it to make themselves heard,” Fuelkrug said.
“But from a sporting perspective it's not so good when you're stopped so often and you have to stay warm – it's not like it's 25 degrees at the moment.”
Fuelkrug scored an own goal with a header from Chelsea loanee Ian Matsen's cross with three minutes remaining in the game.
With the clock running out, Sancho – who missed last week's draw with Heidenheim due to a muscle injury – had two chances to score but saw his efforts parried.
With nine Bundesliga goals so far this campaign, Malen has already equaled his goal total from last season.
The defeat continues seventh-placed Freiburg's poor record at Dortmund.
They have not won at the Westfalenstadion since 2001, having lost 15 and drawn one of their last 16 matches there.
Third-place Stuttgart can restore the three-point gap on Dortmund with a win over struggling Mainz on Sunday.
League leader Bayer Leverkusen hosts second-place Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen, yet to lose a match after 30 games in all competitions this year, are two points ahead of Bayern.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article