Snow can't stop Dortmund's revival
Borussia Dortmund rained on Real Madrid's parade in midweek, and the German soccer champions overcame snowy conditions to kickstart their domestic title hopes on Saturday.
Dortmund's hopes of a third successive Bundesliga crown seem slim, even at this early stage of the season, but the 2-0 win at Freiburg kept Jurgen Klopp's team in fourth place after nine matches -- albeit nine points adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.
While last season's championship was somewhat offset by disappointing results in Europe, Wednesday's 2-1 victory against nine-time winners Real put Dortmund in pole position to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League from Group D.
That momentum was maintained despite a difficult start at the MAGE Solar Stadion, where the pitch was covered in powdery snow after a cold snap hit Northern Europe.
Second-half goals from Serbia defender Neven Subotic and young playmaker Mario Gotze were enough to quell the home side's spirited opening onslaught, which almost produced a goal when Lukasz Piszczek headed against his own post.
Subotic glanced in a header nine minutes after the break and the 20-year-old Gotze sealed victory on 83 to leave Freiburg in midtable.
It was Dortmund's second win in the last six league games, having lost at home to Schalke last weekend.
"It was an incredibly tough game," Klopp told reporters. "You could see in the first half just how hard it was to play on a pitch like that.
"In the second half, we played better than Freiburg did in the first, so this wasn't an undeserved win, but in these conditions anything could have happened."
Schalke, who beat English club Arsenal in the Champions League in midweek, moved up to second place with a 1-0 win at home to Nuremberg.
A 77th-minute goal from winger Jefferson Farfan put the Royal Blues within four points of Bayern, who host Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Wolfsburg, who sacked coach Felix Magath on Thursday, moved off the bottom of the table with a 4-1 win over 10-man Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Dutch striker Bas Dost netted twice, while former Bayern forward Ivioca Olic also netted and Brazilian midfielder Diego added a 78th-minute penalty after Oliver Fink was sent off for fouling him.
Mainz moved up to fifth place as Hungary striker Adam Szalai scored all the goals in a 3-0 win at home to Hoffenheim.
Mid-table Werder Bremen came from behind to draw 1-1 at promoted team Greuther Furth, who dropped to the bottom on goal difference below Augsburg -- beaten 2-0 by Hamburg on Friday.