A difficult ten days have seen Borussia Dortmund give up their unbeaten start to the season, drop points in the league for the first time and struggle to break down lower division opposition on the German Cup.
Jurgen Klopp's men now return to the Westfalenstadion where they have so far proven infallible this campaign, and where their last outing saw them fire six past Hamburg.
Facing them will be last season's Bundesliga surprise package, SC Freiburg, who finished in fifth position and were merely a last day defeat to Schalke away from a spot in the Champions League qualifiers. However, this term has been rather more difficult for manager Christian Streich, his side having failed to win in their opening six matches and languishing in 17th position.
The pair met twice last season, with Die Borussen emerging victorious on both occasions. A trip to the Black Forest last October saw Dortmund run out 2-0 winners, whilst the return visit in Dortmund saw the home side claim a 5-1 win, striker Robert Lewandowski netting twice. Freiburg's previous two visits to the Westfalenstadion also witnessed handsome home wins, with BVB emerging as 4-0 winners in 2011-12 and 3-0 victors in 2010-11.
As such, all signs point to another home win for BVB, presently the Bundesliga's highest-scoring side; Freiburg's young defence, featuring 20-year-old Christian Gunter and the highly-rated 19-year-old Matthias Ginter will need to be at their best to withstand the Borussia barrage.
When: Saturday, September 28 at 9:30 a.m. ET (3:30 p.m. CET)
Where: Westfalenstadion, Dortmund.
Watch: Sky Bundesliga 1, Canal Sport Plus
Dortmund Player to Watch: Nuri Sahin
After a difficult period away from the club with both Real Madrid and Liverpool, the Turkish international playmaker is now back with BVB, having joined on an 18-month loan in January, and is back in excellent form.
With Ilkay Gundogan missing due to injury, Sahin has returned to his former stage at the base of midfield, dictating play from deep as an Italian-style regista, and the 25-year-old has been crucial to Jurgen Klopp's side's good start to their league campaign. Having started in their opening five matches, Sahin played just the second-half at Nurnberg last weekend, but with only a draw forthcoming, he'll be expected to start once more on home soil.
With his intelligent passing, astute positioning and ability to dictate the tempo of the entire game, Sahin and his excellent left foot will look to supply Messrs. Lewandowski, Reus and Mkhitaryan with the kind of incisive forward passes that will create scoring opportunities for them to thrive upon. In the last encounter between the two sides, Sahin helped himself to two goals and an assist in an imperious performance and he'll be looking for similar again.
Freiburg Player to Watch: Gelson Fernandes
A new arrival at the Mage Solar Stadion this season, Gelson Fernandes has enjoyed something of a journeyman's career thus far, having already played in six different countries for eight different teams.
The 27-year-old midfield destroyer made the move to the Bundesliga and Christian Streich's side during the summer and the 44-cap Swiss international has already gone on to make himself an integral part of the Brazilians of Breisgau, playing every minute of every Bundesliga game thus far this season, having arrived for a mere £350,000 from Sporting Lisbon.
Sitting in front of the defence, Fernandes' ability to shut down opponents with speed and tenacity, allied with his tough-tackling nature, will ensure he's key against Jurgen Klopp's lightning quick attack. If Freiburg are to leave with anything, the former Manchester City and Udinese man will need to be on top of his game.
Dortmund had started the season in top form with five wins from their first five Bundesliga matches, not to mention their Super Cup win over Bayern Munich. However, the last ten days have proven rather more difficult, with a 2-1 defeat against Napoli in the Champions League, a 1-1 draw at Nurnberg last weekend and having needed extra-time to see off second-tier 1860 Munich in the DFB Pokal on Tuesday evening.
Nevertheless, with Freiburg struggling at the start of the new campaign, having drawn three and lost three of their opening six matches, the Bundesliga top scorers will expect to get back to winning ways and with a certain degree of comfort.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 SC Freiburg
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