Jordan Pefok broke out of his goal-scoring funk with a dramatic winner to help Union Berlin beat Mainz, while Gio Reyna came off the bench to score a goal in Borussia Dortmund’s annihilation of Freiburg.
Union Berlin 2-1 Mainz
The capital team briefly returned to the top of the Bundesliga standings thanks to Jordan Pefok’s game-winner as they came out on top of Mainz at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei.
Pefok came off the bench to play 11 minutes, completing 60 percent of his passes, winning three duels, and making one tackle along with the single shot that give his team the three points.
The Iron Ones have been unbeaten at home so far this season and they got off to an excellent start after 32 minutes when Kevin Behrens steered in a cross from Pau Seguin.
That one-goal advantage would hold for much of the second half until Mainz scored the leveler in the 78th minute. The video assistant referee spotted the ball making contact with Seguin’s elbow in the area, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot for a penalty. Marcus Ingvartsen stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
As the game edged toward its end, the hosts refused to settle for just a point and they were rewarded in the 84th minute when Pefok was in the right place at the right time to smash home the winner. Niko Griesselmann crossed the ball towards the center and Morten Thorsby headed it into the path of the American forward.
The win leaves Union in second place in the standings with 39 points, just one behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Borussia Dortmund 5-1 Freiburg
Borussia Dortmund put themselves in the title conversation in convincing fashion as they thrashed Freiburg at Signal Iduna Park.
Gio Reyna came off the bench to play 19 minutes for BVB, completing all of his passes and putting two shots on target.
Freiburg was put in a serious disadvantage after 17 minutes when the referee grew frustrated with the actions of Kiliann Sildillia and sent him to an early shower by showing him a second yellow card.
That was blood in the water for the hosts and made the most of it by scoring their first in the 25th minute. Nico Schlotterbeck was able to collect the ball from a corner kick and somehow get it into the goal from a very acute angle.
Despite playing with 10 men, Freiburg leveled the score before the halftime whistle. The Dortmund backline failed to clear the ball and Lucas Holer made them pay with a strike to silence the home supporters.
However, the second half would belong totally to the hosts.
Karim Adeyemi restored BVB’s lead just minutes into the restart when Jude Bellingham played the ball to the German as he charged ino the box to fire past Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken. Sebastien Haller doubled their lead three minutes later when he headed in a cross from Raphael Guerreiro.
Julian Brandt extended their lead in the 69th minute when he fired a knuckler past Flekken and off the post.
Reyna would score Dortmund’s fifth in the 82nd minute with a low curling shot that went through the legs of Freiburg defender, catching the goalkeeper off guard as the ball crossed the goalline.
The win has moved BVB up to third place in the standings with 37 points, three behind Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, John Brooks and Hoffenheim were on the wrong end of a 5-2 defeat to Bochum. The team has allowed nine goals since the 30-year-old signed from Benfica.
Joe Scally and Borussia Monchengladbach played out a 0-0 draw with last-place Schalke.
Kevin Paredes played 24 minutes for Wolfsburg as they fell to Bayern Munich in a 4-2 loss.
Tim Chandler kept the bench warm for Eintracht Frankfurt as they came out 3-0 winners over Hertha Berlin.
In the 2. Bundesliga, Terrence Boyd scored the game-winner for Kaiserslautern as they continued their promotion chase with a 2-1 win over Holstein Kiel.
George Bello played 83 minutes for Arminia Bielefeld as they secured a 3-1 win over Jahn Regensburg.
Lennard Maloney played the full 90 for Heidenheim as they were blanked by Eintracht Braunschweig in a 2-0 loss.
Julian Green played the final six minutes and Maximilian Dietz watched from the bench as Greuther Furth scored a stoppage-time goal to earn a 1-0 win over Nurnberg.
Ryan Malone came on to play the final seven minutes for Hansa Rostock in their 2-0 loss to Hamburg.
Down in the 3. Liga, Isaiah Young played 80 minutes for Rot-Weiss Esson as they shared the points with Duisburg following a 1-1 draw.
Johan Gomez played 73 minutes while Nicolas Carrera was on the bench for Zwickau as their game with Meppen ended in a 1- draw.
Jann George played 62 minutes as Bayreuth went down in a 2-0 defeat to Freiberg II.
Kevin Lankford was on the bench but did not play for Viktoria Cologne in the 1-1 draw with Wehen Wiesbaden.
Jalen Hawkins watched on from the bench for Ingolstadt in their 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund II.