Bundesliga: Freiburg deals demoralizing defeat to Borussia Dortmund

Goals in each half from Vincenzo Grifo and Hungary midfielder Roland Sallai gave host Freiburg its first win and dealt new Dortmund coach Marco Rose his first league defeat after the 5-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the opening round last weekend.

Freiburg's Vincenzo Grifo, center, celebrates scoring with teammates Lucas Holer (L), and Woo-Yeong Jeong (R), against Borussia Dortmund at Schwarzwald-Stadion in Freiburg on Saturday.   -  AP

Freiburg put the brakes on Borussia Dortmund’s early-season optimism by holding on for a 2-1 win in the Bundesliga on Saturday, a demoralizing blow for a team with ambitions of challenging for the title.

Goals in each half from Vincenzo Grifo and Hungary midfielder Roland Sallai gave host Freiburg its first win and dealt new Dortmund coach Marco Rose his first league defeat after the 5-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the opening round last weekend.

Dortmund lost in the German Super Cup to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Netherlands forward Donyell Malen made his first start for Dortmund, but it was a bad beginning overall for the visitor in Freiburg.

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Felix Passlack’s foul on Nicolas Höfler gave Grifo all the opportunity he needed to open the scoring with a brilliant free-kick in off the post in the sixth minute.

Jude Bellingham missed a good chance to equalize, then later hit the post before Jeong Woo-yeong went close for Freiburg.

Sallai made it 2-0 early in the second half, when Bellingham lost the ball to Höfler, who sent it on to Jeong. Lucas Höler laid Jeong’s cross off for Sallai to score.

Passlack forced an own-goal from Yannik Keitel in the 59th, and Dortmund kept pushing for more.

Gio Reyna sent Erling Haaland on his way but the Norwegian fired over in the 68th, and Dortmund’s late pressure failed to yield an equalizer.

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Wolfsburg overpowers Hertha Berlin

Wolfsburg substitute Lukas Nmecha scored late for a 2-1 win at Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt drew with Augsburg 0-0.

Also, promoted Greuther Fürth drew with Arminia Bielefeld 1-1, and Bochum earned its first win in the top flight after an 11-year absence with a 2-0 victory at home over Mainz.

Bayer Leverkusen hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach later on Saturday.

Hertha Hurting

Hertha Berlin looks set for another long hard season after losing its opening two games despite scoring the first goal in both.

Wolfsburg’s visit was Hertha’s first game since confirming that it received the last instalment of Lars Windhorst’s 375-million-euro ($440 million) investment in the club. There wasn't much sign of it on the field.

Hertha goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow made a good save to deny Wout Weghorst in the best chance of a lacklustre first half that gave the vocal home fans little to cheer about.

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New signing Kevin-Prince Boateng went off injured before halftime – a disappointing return for the 34-year-old Berlin native whose last appearance at the Olympiastadion was when he won the German Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018.

The home side emerged with far more intent for the second half but still looked relatively harmless until VAR picked up on a foul from United States defender John Brooks on Hertha's Dodi Lukebakio in the penalty area.

Lukebakio converted the spot kick to open the scoring on the hour-mark.

Wolfsburg coach Marc van Bommel reacted with two changes with 20 minutes to go and again his substitutions made a big impact as the team pushed forward.

Wolfsburg was thrown out of the German Cup on Monday after van Bommel used too many substitutions.

Xaver Schlager set up Ridle Baku to equalize in the 74th, and Nmecha – one of the substitutes – scored the winner in the 88th.

Hertha is the only team yet to claim a point. The next game is at defending champion Bayern Munich.

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