Soccer-Haller on target as Dortmund crush Freiburg for fourth straight win

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund v SC Freiburg - Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany - February 4, 2023 Borussia Dortmund players celebrate after the match REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

DORTMUND, Germany (Reuters) - Borussia Dortmund crushed 10-man Freiburg 5-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with forward Sebastien Haller on target for the first time since his return from cancer treatment, helping lift his side into third spot.

The Ruhr valley club, who face Chelsea in the Champions League Round of 16 on Feb. 15, was in superb form as they made it four wins out of four league games since the restart and move up to 37 points, as many as champions Bayern Munich, in second, who are in action at VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Union Berlin are top on 39 following their win over Mainz 05.

Freiburg, who dropped to sixth place on 34 points, slipped up at the start with Kiliann Sildillia booked twice in three minutes to reduce his team to 10 men in the 17th minute.

It did not take long for Dortmund to make their advantage count and former Freiburg defender Nico Schlotterbeck rifled in for the lead from the tightest of angles in the 26th.

Dortmund had Freiburg firmly on the back foot but the visitors struck against the run of play with Lucas Hoeler drilling in a loose ball after the hosts had failed to clear it near the end of the first half.

Order however was quickly restored after the restart as Dortmund scored twice in a span of three minutes.

Jude Bellingham set up Karim Adeyemi with a backheel flick and the Germany international slipped the ball past keeper Mark Flekken in the 48th to put them back in front.

It was then Haller, back this year after undergoing surgeries and treatment for testicular cancer diagnosed only weeks after he had signed for the club last July, who scored his first competitive goal for them, heading in a cross in the 51st.

Dortmund captain Marco Reus should have scored as well when he was left unmarked in front of goal at the far post in the 55th, but he rattled the crossbar with his shot.

Julian Brandt did not miss with a long-range effort that went in off the post in the 69th, and Gio Reyna completed Freiburg's demolition in the 82nd, after Freiburg coach Christian Streich was sent off as well for dissent.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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