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Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Freiburg: Bundesliga match delayed by a tennis ball and chocolate protest

Borussia Dortmund beat Freiburg in another Bundesliga game delayed by protests against an investment proposal by the German Football Association.

After 36 minutes, tennis balls and chocolate gold coins were thrown on to the pitch from fans in the Dortmund section to cause a 10-minute delay.

Home captain Emre Can spoke to supporters before the game restarted.

Dortmund clinched the win thanks to two goals from Donyell Malen, and one from Niclas Fullkrug on his 31st birthday.

After Fullkrug's goal, England winger Jadon Sancho came on as an 88th-minute substitute and had a shot saved by Noah Atubolu and headed the rebound wide.

Sancho, looking for his first Dortmund goal since returning to the club on loan from Manchester United, also had another chance but could not direct a volley goalbound.

Edin Terzic's side are unbeaten in eight competitive matches since a 3-2 home loss to RB Leipzig on 9 December.

More protests in the Bundesliga

In December, a majority vote by German clubs approved a proposal to sell some Bundesliga TV rights in exchange for investment capital.

Supporters threw tennis balls on to the pitch during Bochum's 3-0 win over Union Berlin in December and there was a 12-minute stoppage during Heidenheim's 1-1 draw with Wolfsburg last month as part of league-wide protests.

On 20 January, Dortmund's 4-0 victory at Cologne was subject to an eight-minute delay with tennis balls and gold coins thrown on to the pitch from fans from both teams.

On Friday, there was also a protest during Hannover's 4-3 win over Hamburg in Bundesliga 2.

Hamburg fans chained six padlocks to the goal and netting at half-time, three locks to either post at one end, with the padlocks having to be cut off before play could resume.

In the Dortmund-Freiburg match, a number of tennis balls and chocolate gold coins were thrown on to the pitch behind the goal the hosts were defending in the first half.

Chocolate gold coins were thrown on to the pitch during the Dortmund v Freiburg match
Chocolate gold coins were among the objects thrown on to the pitch during the Dortmund v Freiburg match

Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel was shown kicking and juggling one of the tennis balls while the objects were removed.

Banners were also held up by fans, with one sign saying "No to investors in the DFL (German Football League)."

More tennis balls were thrown on to the pitch after 60 minutes, but that did not result in a lengthy stoppage.

Sancho maintains winning record

Sancho, 23, has now been on the winning side for all four of his Dortmund appearances, although the hosts were 3-0 up before his late introduction.

He missed the goalless draw at Heidenheim on 2 February because of an adductor injury, but played the last few minutes of this match.

In September, Sancho claimed on social media he had been made a "scapegoat" after United boss Erik ten Hag said he left the winger out of a matchday squad because of his training levels.

The forward then trained away from the Red Devils' first team before re-joining Dortmund, having moved from the German side to United in a £73m transfer in July 2021.

Malen put Dortmund ahead when he fired a shot high into the net. Following the protest delay, the Dutchman netted his second with a low angled strike in the seventh of 12 added-on minutes at the end of the first half.

Fullkrug grabbed an 87th-minute third with a powerful header following a cross from Ian Maatsen, on loan from Chelsea.

Dortmund stay fourth in the Bundesliga table but are now 12 points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who entertain second-placed Bayern Munich on Saturday, kick-off 17:30 GMT.