Borussia Dortmund extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to seven points with a vital 2-0 win over SC Freiburg on Saturday.
Marco Reus' first half penalty was enough to ensure all three points stayed at the Westfalenstadion, and Paco Alcácer's second half goal was nothing more than the icing on the cake for Dortmund.
The hosts had to bide their time but eventually broke their deadlock from the penalty spot. Jadon Sancho bamboozled Dominique Heintz to win the spot kick, and Reus made no mistake from 12 yards as he fired the ball straight down the middle of the goal.
Jérôme Gondorf was denied an outstanding equaliser by the underside of the crossbar just seconds later following his long-range free kick.
Piszczek was denied by the same part of the crossbar just before full time, but Dortmund's important second came thanks to another goal from substitute Alcácer, who converted a stunning counter-attack with a simple tap-in.
Key Talking Point
The Black and Yellows were made to bide their time against Freiburg, despite dominating the match and playing with a certain swagger that you'd expect from Bundesliga title contenders.
Their opening goal came at the perfect time as tensions were starting to rise in the stands, but they didn't let their failure to break the deadlock get to them in the opening 40 minutes of the match.
Teams can often get frustrated when they struggle to score the opening goal of a match, but Borussia Dortmund kept their heads down and continued to play Lucien Favre's way, instead of rushing things and trying to force things to happen.
Bürki (6); Piszczek (6), Diallo (7), Zagadou (7), Hakimi (9*); Delaney (7), Witsel (8), Sancho (8), Reus (7), Bruun Larsen (8); Götze (7).
Substitutes: Toprak (7) Alcácer (8) Philipp (N/A).
Jadon Sancho was unplayable against SC Freiburg and already looks to be on the brink of being considered as a world class player, but it was actually the performance of a different youngster which stole the show in Dortmund.
Loanee Achraf Hakimi quite simply didn't put a foot wrong this weekend. He offered the visitors no joy down the left side, while also offering a constant threat going forward.
SC Freiburg are certainly having their defensive organisation put to the test against Borussia Dormtund. No goals so far at the Westfalenstadion but it looks like it's coming. Achraf Hakimi has been flawless so far, Jadon Sancho also looking very dangerous! #BVBSCF— Ben • Carter (@ben_crtr) December 1, 2018
The 20-year-old showed exactly why Borussia Dortmund are so desperate to sign him permanently next season, and exactly why his parent club Real Madrid aren't entertaining that idea.
Once again for Borussia Dortmund, it's simply a case of who was the least impressive, as opposed to who was the 'worst player' on the pitch.
And once again, it's veteran defender Lukasz Piszczek who takes this spot.
The Poland international didn't really do anything wrong against Freiburg, but pacy forward Luca Waldschmidt enjoyed his best moments down the right flank and it was the only area of the pitch where the visitors looked somewhat dangerous.
Schwolow (7); Gulde (6), Koch (7), Heintz (5), Stenzel (7); Haberer (6), Frantz (6), Gondorf (6), Günter (6), Waldschmidt (7); Petersen (7).
Substitutes: Ravet (6) Höler (6) Kleindienst (N/A).
Borussia Dortmund can now prepare for one of the biggest games in their footballing calendar. Lucien Favre's side make the short journey to face a bitter rivals Schalke 04 in the Revierderby, a game which very rarely disappoints.
SC Freiburg, meanwhile, will host Germany's most hated football club next week, although manager Christian Streich will be keeping one eye on their match against Fortuna Düsseldorf.
RB Leipzig will be clear favourites against Freiburg, even though the Red Bulls could travel to the Schwarzwald-Stadion on a three-game losing run if they can't turn their form around against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.