BERLIN (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 visitors in Freiburg.
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.
Sallai made it 2-0 early in the second half, when Jude Bellingham lost the ball to Höfler, who sent it on to Jeong Woo-yeong. Lucas Höler laid Jeong’s cross off for Sallai to score.
Passlack forced an own-goal from Yannik Keitel in the 59th, but Dortmund’s late pressure failed to yield an equalizer.
Bayer Leverkusen routed Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0 to give new coach Gerardo Seoane his first Bundesliga win as well as give notice to the rest of the league.
Gladbach endured a game to forget with forwards Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea, and defender Stefan Lainer, all going off injured. Defender Ramy Bensebaini was being treated after the game. Captain Lars Stindl had a penalty saved.
Leverkusen’s new signing Mitchel Bakker set the tone when he let fly in the third minute and the ball rebounded off Gladbach ’keeper Yann Sommer’s leg and went in. Patrick Schick made it 2-0 in the eighth minute.
Bakker conceded the penalty for a foul on Lainer – who couldn’t continue – but Lukáš Hrádecký saved Stindl’s spot kick.
Gladbach’s fortune didn’t improve in the second half, with Bensebaini deflecting Moussa Diaby’s shot past the helpless Sommer.
Schick hit the post as Leverkusen maintained its relentless attacks, and Nadiem Amiri finally completed the rout in the 87th.
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.
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.
Lukebakio converted the penalty 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 Lukas 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.
Also, Eintracht Frankfurt drew with Augsburg 0-0, 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.
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Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press