Sunday, August 11, 2013

Match Review: Borussia Dortmund v. FC Augsburg (Bundesliga)

Score:  Dortmund 4(Aubameyang 24,66,79, Lewandowski Pen 86), Augsburg 0

This game was a tale of two halves and a showing of how to debut in style. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang made his first appearance in the Bundesliga the only way he know how latching on to beautiful passes from Schmelzer, Reus and Lewandowski to score a hat-trick. This scoreline does not do much justice for Augsburg's performance as it was only 1-0 in the first half. Augsburg caught Dortmund on the counter on numerous occasions with their direct play but failed to capitalize on chances. It was only a matter of time in the 2nd half before Borussia Dortmund got back to top form.

It is amazing the composure Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had in his first Bundesliga match. The former Ligue 1 played most of the match on the right wing and was constantly active looking for through ball opportunities. FC Augsburg first half consisted of close calls from Raphael Holzhauser who almost completed an amazing goal that backup goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak saved. After the first goal scored, Dortmund looked a little lazy and complacent and while they were dominating possession, FC Augsburg looked more dangerous in their attack.

I don't know what Jurgen Klopp said to influence his players, but Dortmund looked like a totally different team in the second half. Borussia dominated possession with more purpose, tightened up their defense and made sure their chances count in the final third. With each goal, it seemed like Augsburg were slowly throwing the game away, getting less confident and close to admitting defeat. In the end, Robert Lewandowski,who was quiet for most of the game slid home a penalty in the 86th minute.

With other new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured, we got a chance to see how enthusiastic manager Jurgen Klopp adjusted with his tactics. Illkay Gundogan took over the number 10 role with Nuri Sahin playing in his vacant spot. Gundogan wasn't as effective playing behind the striker, failing to give Lewandowski enough service as he did not seem as comfortable as his natural position behind the playmaker. Gundogan later got subbed for Kuba, which played in the right wing spot while Aubameyang moved over to the left and Reus played in the 10 role. The versatility of Aubameyang adds another dimension for Dortmund and gives added depth to a team who lacked depth last season.

This was a nice test for Champions League runner-ups, whom last season was known to get complacent against lesser teams. Borussia made the adjustments in the second half and responded magnificently. Aubameyang had a debut to remember and it seems when Lewandowski's imminent departure comes, Dortmund might have found a replacement.