Freiburg - Borussia Dortmund's at SC Freiburg may not have been one for the football purists, but Jürgen Klopp and Co. will nevertheless have been delighted with the victory over Christian Streich's side.
No stroll in the sun
Grit, graft and a reasonable slice of good fortune helped Klopp's men pick up an important three points in the Black Forest, establishing a four-point lead over Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification in the process.
Those who expected a relaxing afternoon in the spring-like sunshine in deepest Baden-Württemberg soon found out Matchday 24's clash at the MAGE SOLAR Stadion was going to be anything but a walk in the park. "We had to put in a huge amount of effort to win this game," said German international Kevin Großkreutz. "Freiburg were strong opponents - they are fighting to avoid the drop."
Dortmund coach Klopp had warned as much on the eve of the game and he acknowledged afterwards that Freiburg had not disappointed. "It was a tough game for a lot of reasons," he said. "We were up against determined opposition. It was a lucky win, but a deserved one in the end."
Skill, observation and luck
The winning goal came from the most unlikely of sources - midfielder Sebastian Kehl. The 34-year-old's long-range effort was more than just a random pot-shot at goal: "Everybody knows that Oliver Baumann stands quite a long way off his line," he explained after the final whistle. "But you need a bit of luck too. I just put my head down and hit it."
"Our coach always says 'if you don't shoot, you can't score'," added Kehl, who has made 245 appearances for BVB since joining the club from Freiburg in 2002. "I was delighted with the goal because we desperately needed these three points." Nuri Sahin agreed with his fellow midfielder's sentiments: "We won in the end, and that's all that matters."
Kehl becomes BVB's 15th goal scorer of the season - more than any other club in the German top flight. According to Großkreutz, however, Dortmund's resilience was the decisive factor in Sunday's victory over the Bundesliga strugglers. "In the end, we won because we didn't concede any chances and made the most of ours," said the 25-year-old, before adding: "'Kehli's' shot was unstoppable."
So too, it seems, is FC Bayern's march towards the Bundesliga title. "Whoever wins games like this wins the league, only we can't do that anymore," conceded Klopp. Nevertheless, as Mats Hummels said: "This was a very important step and three big points for us."