Mario Gotze the lone creative outlet in Dortmund's midfield vs. Freiburg
It was a Saturday to forget for Dortmund, who were held to a 0-0 stalemate by a decimated Freiburg on the road. Two points unnecessarily dropped by Peter Bosz's club but losing two players to injury may sting even more going forward.
After three match days, BVB remain the only team in the league that are yet to concede. They would, however, swap that record for three points in Freiburg.
The match away to the Schwarzwald-Stadion marked the first of seven matches within the next 21 days for the Black and Yellows. Losing Marc Bartra through a muscle injury and seeing Marcel Schmelzer carried off the field on a stretcher after a nasty challenge before the 30-minute mark does not bode well for the tough weeks to come.
The 90 minutes yielded in ultimate frustration for BVB. Despite having 82 percent possession and having a one-man advantage over 10-man Freiburg for over an hour, they could hardly create chances that they could rue in the end. The hosts were desperate to avoid a 13th consecutive loss against the Black and Yellows with Christian Streich setting his team up in ultra defensive mode.
It was a terrible dress rehearsal ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match away to Tottenham Hotspur as Dortmund lost the momentum they built up with the first two league wins.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Bosz surely would have loved to bring on more attacking players but having made two substitutions early at the back somewhat tied his hands. One, however, can argue that he could have brought on a creative spirit such as Shinji Kagawa instead of Andriy Yarmolenko.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 6 -- Had to stand tall after five minutes. Tim Kleindienst was running free on goal as Dortmund's offside trap was beaten. The former Freiburg keeper blocked the ball but if it wasn't for the scuffed shot, it would have been 1-0 to the hosts.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 5 -- The Polish right-back made a lot of overlapping runs on his right side. Had a decent scoring opportunity with a header in the 81st minute but couldn't steer it on goal.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 5 -- Five shots, three shots blocked, average shooting distance: 35 metres, none on target. The Greek centre-back's adventurous shooting statistics perfectly sum up the overall lack of ideas in the Dortmund side.
DF Marc Bartra, NR -- The Spanish centre-back was taken off the field after 18 minutes after signalling to the bench that he was feeling a muscle strain. BVB have to hope it was only a precautionary measure.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, NR -- Schmelzer made his comeback from injury against Freiburg, but his season debut lasted only until the 28th minute. Yoric Ravet's late challenge on the Dortmund captain turned out to be a nasty one, twisting the ankle of the 29-year-old in an awkward way. The video assistant referee punished Ravet with a red card after referee Benjamin Cortus initially opted for a yellow booking. Schmelzer was on his way to a hospital as the match went on.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 4 -- Castro tried to find teammates in the box with inswinging crosses. In matches where the opposition are parking the bus around their own box, it's especially down to the central midfielders to come up with solutions. Castro did not have the necessary inspiration to really help his team.
MF Nuri Sahin, 4 -- Was the man of the match against Berlin but too many times his teammates saw him flick the ball to the side after making a deep run into the box. Bosz lamented that his players didn't move the ball around quickly enough. Sahin was at the centre of the criticism.
MF Mario Gotze, 7 -- For the most part of the match, Gotze was the only creative outlet in Dortmund's midfield. He found his teammates with dinks in behind Freiburg's defence. With another player like Gotze on the pitch, Dortmund might very well have come out as winners.
FW Christian Pulisic, 4 -- The 18-year-old with the international break blues. Arguably had the best chance with a shot on the turn in the second half.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 4 -- In the 80th minute, Aubameyang put the ball into the net, taking advantage of two Freiburg defenders colliding into each other. The goal surely would have been the winner but the referee blew the whistle seconds earlier to award Dortmund a free kick. An unlucky moment overall.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 4 -- The 23-year-old had a few openings against his ex-club but couldn't steer the ball on goal on all three occasions.
DF Omer Toprak, 5 -- The centre-back was brought on for the injured Bartra. Did well in his positioning to prevent counter-attacks.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 5 -- Replaced the injured Schmelzer. Could not put too many dangerous crosses into the box from the left-side. The 18-year-old can start to mentally prepare for his Champions League debut with Schmelzer possibly out for longer..
FW Andriy Yarmolenko, NR -- The Ukrainian winger made his debut for Dortmund with roughly 10 minutes left to play. He got a loud cheer from Freiburg fans as his right-footed cross went into the stand behind the goal.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.