Borussia Dortmund's 3-1 win against SC Freiburg was an excellent dress rehearsal ahead of Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Real Madrid. The Black and Yellows are now unbeaten at home in 24 league matches, but they had to work hard to secure three points on the night.
One big positive is Dortmund's future. Emre Mor and Ousmane Dembele were a joy to watch for the 80,000 spectators at the match. BVB look irresistible when they shift into their highest gear. The Friday night win also means an extra day of rest ahead of a midweek Champions League clash.
Dortmund's hair in the soup on matchday five was calamitous errors in their defensive positioning at times. Against Freiburg, they got away with it. Let's see about Real.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Thomas Tuchel applied a bit of rotation, leaving Raphael Guerreiro on the bench and starting Mor.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 6 -- The Swiss goalkeeper received a lot of praise going into the match, but couldn't reaffirm his "calming presence," as Tuchel described it. Caused himself trouble with unnecessary dribbling attempts.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 7 -- The right-back on the score sheet in consecutive games, Piszczek scored Dortmund's second goal in the 53rd minute in a move he largely created by himself. His newfound goal-scoring prowess, however, masks his otherwise mediocre form.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 9 -- Rock solid. Sokratis had to step up after Mats Hummels' departure and so far this season he has done exactly that.
DF Matthias Ginter, 6 -- The centre-back with a streaky evening. Splitting passes in defence one minute and producing sloppy giveaways the next. Freiburg's goal in the 60th minute was mostly down to his poor timing and positioning.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, 7 -- The captain often assumes a more central role over the course of the match. The shift he put in over 90 minutes summed up BVB's overall performance. Stellar at times, but mostly hard work.
MF Julian Weigl, 9 -- Another impeccable performance, making him the man of the match. Without Weigl, Dortmund's structure seems in danger of falling apart, as he pulls the strings in midfield. His intelligence was a big part of BVB's dominance against Freiburg.
MF Emre Mor, 7 -- Mor caused plenty of havoc in Freiburg's area in his very first start for Borussia Dortmund, showing his unquestionable talent. One of his many efforts from distance smacked the bar. Sometimes a bit overzealous, still.
MF Mario Gotze, 6 -- Much was written about Gotze's first home match. He received a handful of jeers while warming up. Afterwards, he had a rather quiet 45 minutes in every imaginable aspect until finding Dembele in the box for Dortmund's opener. Tuchel took him off after 71 Minutes.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 7 -- Alongside the flashy Mor and Dembele, Castro was the necessary calming pressing, who played efficiently and without many frills. The 29-year-old set up Guerrerio in stoppage time with a clever backheel.
MF Ousmane Dembele, 8 -- "Ous looked tired yesterday and I thought he would come of the bench. But when I saw him frolicking this morning, I knew he had to play," said Tuchel after the match. Dembele was an unstoppable whirlwind on Dortmund's left side. He picked up an assist.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 8 -- The Gabonese striker only scored once, but he could have easily had a hat trick against Freiburg. Eight for effort, as he created excellent opportunities for him to miss with skills of international calibre. He looked tired towards the end, but had enough left in his tank to instigate Dortmund's third goal with a backheel pass.
MF Christian Pulisic, 6 -- The U.S. youngster came on after 64 minutes, but was not the attacking outlet he was in the last two matches.
MF Raphael Guerreiro, 8 -- The Portuguese international entered the match with 20 minutes to spare and added some much needed momentum upfront. He put the game to bed in stoppage time, increasing his tally to three goals and four assists in 308 minutes.
MF Sebastian Rode, N/R -- Replaced Dembele in the 80th minute to stabilise the midfield, which worked out well barring one exception.