In a wonderful Sunday evening fixture, Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig brought a number of points to the fore. Chris Williams looks at the top five take away points from the weekend’s topspiele.
Leipzig’s Europa League exploits were an immediate advantage.
The game couldn’t have started any better for die Roten Bullen – with just 30 seconds on the clock Jean-Kévin Augustin pounced to slide the ball into the Dortmund goal. Shocked probably isn’t the word to use, the Westfalenstadion fell silent.
It would have been exactly what Ralf Rangnick wanted – with Leipzig already knee deep into European competition the savvy coach will have known that his side had a competitive upper hand.
Looking back the Saxony side should have capitalised on their sharpness to a higher degree. Yussuf Poulsen went agonisingly close to doubling the lead on two minutes and Roman Bürki then pulled off a remarkable save from Augustin – repeating the feat later on from a technically brilliant strike by Lukas Klostermann.
Leipzig had their chances, on another day they take them and avoid a four-one demolition.
Jean-Kévin Augustin answers his critics
Lambasted during pre-season for a lack of focus, the 21-year-old centre forward now boasts three goals from six games.
He was a constant threat during the early part of the game. As Dortmund frantically tried to adjust to the match pace set by Leipzig, it was Augustin who looked the most likely to add to the lightning-quick opener.
Sacrificed late on for Matheus Cunha, he will have been pleased with his personal contribution despite the final heavy defeat inflicted on his side.
With 12 goals in 37 matches last season, Augustin is already on course to better his return this time out. Should he do that, then Rangnick will feel he was right to question his forward publically, invoking a strong – perfect – response from the player.
Dahoud repays the Favre faith
Mahmoud Dahoud is no stranger to the new Dortmund boss, Lucien Favre. The 22-year-old midfielder got his big break under the Swiss head coach when the two were paired together at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Thrust into the left side of an attacking three, it was Dahoud who was given the nod ahead of Mario Götze for the season start. There were a number of raised eyebrows, the German U21 international didn’t have the best of starts to life in yellow and black.
Not really trusted by Bosz and frozen out to an extent by Stöger, Dahoud will have been relieved to finally see a coach come in who he had a connection with.
His equalising goal required him to adjust his body in mid-air. The fact he was able to do this – and power his header into the goal – showed the watching masses that he may have just found the form that earned him a move to the eight times champions of Germany.
Favre’s influence shines through
After a not so wonderful start, Dortmund eventually settled and displayed the type of football associated with Lucien Favre.
However, there will be concerns surrounding the opening 15 minutes. Dortmund seemed unable to cope with Leipzig’s high press – they simply couldn’t play out from the back.
Even after the scoreline was rescued, Leipzig were still able to cut through Dortmund with ease due to their high line and constant pressure.
There is a famous phrase in German football: Der Ball ist rund und das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten – the ball is round and the game lasts 90 minutes, and after 90 minutes it was Dortmund who prevailed.
In short, don’t panic when phases of the game are not in your control, just win the control back and become clinical. This is exactly what Favre has installed into his side, Dortmund waited for the best moment to score and did so four times. No crazy long shots, no rushed possession or forcing of play.
Total shots – six, on target – five, goals – four. That’s about as Lucien Favre as it gets.
A fit Marco Reus is key
Dortmund’s captain was majestic and the Schwarzgelben will need him to be ft for an entire season if they wish to compete on three levels.
His dangerous free-kick resulted in an own goal and a brilliant display was capped by an added-time goal. Sliding a left footed shot past Péter Gulácsi to make the scoreline more a little flattering, but nonetheless, well deserved.
The winger missed a combined total of 34 games during last season, as well as 26 the season before. Blighted by injury at times, it has been a situation that has resulted in fewer appearances than his talent deserved.
Undoubtedly, when fit he brings a presence to this Dortmund side that could propel them to be a genuine challenger once again to Bayern München.
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Primarily covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams