Christian Gunter was lost for words after his Freiburg side were thumped 6-0 by Wolfsburg on their return to Bundesliga action on Saturday.
Freiburg entered the two-month break second only to Bayern Munich in the table after winning four of their final five league games of 2022.
But any thoughts of possibly rivalling 10-in-a-row champions Bayern were put into perspective by Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena.
Christian Streich's side were behind after just 59 seconds through a Patrick Wimmer strike, before Jonas Wind's double put the hosts in complete control before half-time.
Yannick Gerhardt and Ridle Baku joined the scoresheet in the second half, and Luca Waldschmidt beat Mark Flekken from the penalty spot to complete the scoring.
"I don't have any explanation. It wasn't expected. We have to look at what went wrong," Freiburg captain Gunter told Sky Sport.
"It's extremely painful to start like this in 2023. Everything came together for them; it was a very bad day for us."
Freiburg's heavy loss sees them drop to fourth below Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin, with all three sides five points behind leaders Bayern.
Reflecting on a chastening day for his side, Freiburg head coach Christian Streich said: "We lost 6-0 and didn't have a chance.
"After the first minute, we got to know how good Wolfsburg are. In the end, we lost 6-0. What can I say? Maybe it's best I don't say anything."
Wolfsburg's win was their fifth in a row in Bundesliga – their best run since 2014 when winning six in a row – and moves them within four points of the Champions League spots.
"We got off to a very good start," Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac said. "From our second shot, we scored our second goal, then it was a sure-fire success from there.
"Basically, you can't go wrong from there. I'm happy with the way this team is developing."