Borussia Dortmund continued their 100 per cent winning start to the Bundesliga campaign with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin at the Signal Iduna Park on Sunday.
Goals from Matts Hummels, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Adrian Ramos were enough to ensure that Thomas Tuchel became the first manager in Dortmund’s illustrious history to win his first three league games in charge.
Hertha’s goal was scored by former Chelsea man, Saloman Kalou, but it was not enough to prevent Dortmund registering their eighth win from eight competitive games, in all competitions, this season.
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The game started at an uncharacteristically slow tempo; Dortmund controlled most of the possession but struggled to break down their well-organised, defensively disciplined opponents.
Hertha’s captain, Fabian Lustenberger, was playing the role of the defensive anchor in midfield, a position that was going to be vital to stop Dortmund’s free-flowing forward players. The Swiss international thwarted the threat of Henrik Mkhitaryan a couple of times in the early stages to prevent any clear goal scoring opportunities.
It took 20 minutes for Roman Burki to make the first save of the game. Van Den Bergh, who was providing good width on Hertha’s left-hand side, whipped in a dangerous delivery which dropped to Vladimir Darida, but his effort was tame.
Seven minutes later Dortmund took the lead. The goal was typical of their play this season: sharp, incisive and clinical. It came from a corner, Marco Reus passed to Shinji Kagawa who's cross was headed home by Matts Hummels.
Henrik Mkhitaryan came the closest to doubling his side’s advantage after 40 minutes with a powerful, swerving effort from 25 yards which was well saved by Thomas Kraft.
Dortmund had claims for a penalty waived away by the referee just after half-time, after Mkhitaryan felt as though he had been impeded by Peter Pekarik, when trying to reach a Reus cross.
After 51 minutes, Kagawa drifted in from the left-hand side and expertly lofted a pinpoint pass over to Ginter, who had burst forward into the Hertha box, he then laid the ball across the six yard box to Aubameyang, who tapped in for his third Bundesliga goal in as many games this season.
For all of Dortmund’s dominance, they weren’t out of sight just yet. After 64 minutes, Lustenberger climbed over Hummels in the Dortmund box and headed Darida’s free kick towards Burki’s goal, the Swiss goalkeeper, however, saved well and the danger was cleared.
Former Chelsea man, Salomon Kalou, replaced Van den Bergh after 70 minutes and instantly looked more threatening in the central striking role. Then, eight minutes later, he scored, rebounding Darida’s effort past Burki in the Dortmund goal.
The away side pressed but weren’t able to continue their impressive attacking play for any sustained period, and Dortmund soon regained the impetus.
Dortmund’s two substitutes, Jonas Hoffman and Adrian Ramos, combined well from a corner kick on the 80-minute mark, but Ramos’ half well-controlled half-volley was well saved by Kraft.
It was Ramos, who finished off the scoring for the home side in the 93rd minute. The striker finishing off a wonderful team goal that included Weigl, Hofmann, Kagawa and Mkhitaryan.
After three games in the Bundesliga, Thomas Tuchel’s side are top of the table. If they can keep this kind of form up for the remainder of the season, they could break Bayern’s recent stranglehold over the Bundesliga title. There is, of course, still 31 games to play, but the early signs couldn’t be any more encouraging.