Borussia Dortmund continued their outstanding early season form by defeating Ingolstadt 4-0 at the Audi SportPark on Sunday.
Goals from Matthias Ginter, Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured that Dortmund kept up their 100% winning start to the 2015/16 Bundesliga season.
Dortmund started the game at a typically high tempo and should've taken the lead after just six minutes when Marco Reus, who has started this season in fine form, sliced an effort wide from just 12 yards after some alert work from Marcel Schmelzer down the left-hand side.
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This was the first competitive meeting between these two sides, and although Ingolstadt started the season off strongly with a win away at Mainz, the gulf in class between the two teams was apparent right from the start.
The movement and interplay between Dortmund’s dynamic attacking trio of Reus, Aubameyang, and Henrik Mkhitaryan was stretching Ingolstadt’s back four in the early stages. In the 15th minute, Aubameyang should've put the away side in front. On this occasion, however, the Gabon forward scuffed his side-footed effort wide of the target after more good work from Schmelzer and Reus down the left-hand side.
It wasn’t only Dortmund’s front three who were pressuring Ingolstadt’s defensive line; Ilkay Gundogan, who was operating in a deep-lying central midfield role, elegantly glided past four Ingolstadt players before marginally over hitting his pass towards Aubameyang, who was unmarked in the six-yard box and staring at an empty net.
After 18 minutes, Dortmund squandered another clear cut chance. This time it fell to Mkhitaryan, who, after some beautiful link-up play with Kagawa, toe-poked his effort from close range wide of the target. The chances were coming, the pressure was building, but the floodgates remained shut, at least for now.
Just before the half hour mark, Reus had another great chance. This time, though, he was brilliantly denied by Orjan Nyland, Ingolstadt’s goalkeeper, who, despite all of Dortmund’s chances, was rarely called into action during the first half.
Ingolstadt did show a glimmer of an attacking threat on the 35th minute when the side’s chief creator, Pascal Gros - who registered 16 assists in the 2014/15 02 Bundesliga season - played a delightful through ball towards Lukas Hinterseer, the forward, however, was unable to reach the ball before Dortmund’s sweeper keeper, Tamas Burki, who arrived in time to clear any potential danger.
Dortmund lead the goal attempts count 9-1 at the end of the first half. These kind of statistics don’t often lie and this case was no different; Dortmund were utterly dominant and should've been five goals up by the end of the first half.
As so often happens when a team is on the back foot in the first period of a game, Ingolstadt started the second half in a much more purposeful manner; for the first ten minutes of the half, they were the better side.
After 49 minutes, Burki was forced into making his first meaningful save of the match. Alfredo Morales, the American defensive midfielder, drove forward and then laid the ball in the path of Moritz Hartmann with a delicate back-heel, the Ingolstadt forward struck a fierce low effort towards the corner of Burki’s goal, but the Swiss stopper saved well.
A few moments later, Burki nearly produced a moment of inexplicable madness when he attempted a Cruyff turn to evade Matthew Leckie, luckily for him, he missed the ball completely, which flummoxed the unfortunate Australian forward completely. Leckie was left disappointed; Burki was left relieved.
Despite the home side’s bright start to the half, Dortmund were starting to move the ball at a quicker tempo as the half advanced, and after 55 minutes they took the lead. Reus? No. Aubameyang? No. Mkhitaryan? No. The opening goal scorer of the afternoon was Ginter, who, in the process, registered his first goal for Dortmund. The young, versatile full-back finished calmly on his weaker left side after being played though by Mkhitaryan.
Five minutes later, the away side were 2-0 up. The goal scorer this time was, unsurprisingly, Marco Reus, who powerfully converted a penalty kick after Schmelzer was tripped inside the box by Moritz Hartmann.
To Ingolstadt’s credit, they didn’t throw the towel in. Substitute Stefan Lax, who was last season’s joint top scorer with nine goals, nearly got a goal back for the home side with his first touch of the ball. The chance came after Gros played a long ball up to Leckie, who cushioned a headed pass down to the onrushing Lax, who connected well with a low strike, but Burki saved well.
At the other end, Aubameyang should’ve put the game to bed after Reus provided him with a cross field pass which left him one on one with Nyland, however, to the keeper’s credit, he stayed strong, and saved the striker’s effort comfortably.
A few moments later, Nyland made two more fine saves in quick succession, this time to deny Reus and Hummels; if it hadn’t been for Nyland’s fine display and Dortmund’s poor finishing, the scoreline could've been approaching double figures.
In the 84th minute, Kagawa put the result beyond any doubt after he coolly slotted home a right-foot effort from just inside the box. The goal was created by some incisive build-up play on the right-hand side involving substitute Jonas Hoffman and Aubameyang.
Aubameyang, for all his involvement and effort, finally got himself on the scoresheet after 91 minutes. Ginter player a harmful looking ball in the box, which somehow managed to find its way to the grateful striker, who prodded home an effort from six yards out.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have made a fantastic start to the season. After six games in all competitions, they have registered six wins, scored 20 goals, and conceded just three. At this early stage, life after Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund looks very promising indeed.