Borussia Dortmund central defender Mats Hummels scored twice, including an 87th minute goal, to guide last season’s Bundesliga runners-up to a nervous 4-2 win at Freiburg.
Dortmund, who take on Paris St Germain in the Champions League group stage next week, have not enjoyed a strong start to the season and had managed just one win in their previous three league games.
“It was a hard-fought win but it should not be viewed too negatively,” Hummels said.
“Freiburg are a tough nut to crack and we knew and were prepared for such a game.”
“But we have to start finding better solutions if we are to take a step forward, to project more dominance even against opponents who are pressing,” Hummels said.
Dortmund took an 11th minute lead through the 34-year-old Hummels but instead of putting more pressure on the hosts they were more interested in protecting their lead.
Hummel has now scored at least once for 16 consecutive Bundesliga seasons, one of only six players to have achieved that.
They paid the price in first half stoppage time with Freiburg scoring twice to turn the game on its head.
Lucas Hoeler first headed past keeper Gregor Kobel to cut the deficit in the second minute of stoppage time and then Nicolas Hoefler nodded in for the lead with the last move of the first half.
The visitors bounced back after the break and levelled on the hour, with substitute Niclas Fuellkrug sending Donyell Malen through and the Dutchman slotting in for his third goal of the season.
With Freiburg down to 10 men following the dismissal of Hoefler with a red card, Dortmund poured forward.
Hummels slid in to put them back in front after a lucky bounce in the 87th and substitute Marco Reus drilled in their fourth in stoppage time for his first goal of the season.
Dortmund are on eight points.
Champions Bayern Munich, whose winning start was snapped on Friday following a 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen, level on 10 points with Leverkusen.
RB Leipzig moved into third place on nine with a 3-0 win over Augsburg.
VfB Stuttgart are also on nine after a Serhou Guirassy hat-trick gave them a 3-1 win at Mainz 05.
The Guinea international has now scored eight goals in the first four league matches.