Borussia Dortmund put midweek defeat against Real Madrid behind them to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win at Augsburg.
Andriy Yarmolenko opened his league account for Peter Bosz’s men as the away side made a swashbuckling start.
In the week Bayern Munich parted company with Carlo Ancelotti, Dortmund seemed eager to further strengthen their hand domestically, with nearest challengers Hoffenheim and Bayern not in action until Sunday.
Caiuby checked this ambition with a well-worked equaliser but Shinji Kagawa netted a 23rd-minute chip and Augsburg were fortunate to escape to half-time without further damage.
Dortmund’s level dropped considerably in the face of a spirited showing from the hosts during the second half while a farcical penalty miss compounded a wretched outing for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and set up an unnecessarily nervous finale.
But former Ajax boss Bosz was able to look back on a job well done and six wins out of seven in an unbeaten start to life in the Bundesliga.
Augsburg striker Alfred Finnbogason headed too close to Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki from Marcel Heller’s chipped cross early on, while Marwin Hitz brilliantly kept out a Kagawa drive low down to his right.
An all-action start yielded a fifth-minute opener from the Dortmund corner following that attack – Yarmolenko impishly backheeling home after the ball dropped to him in the six-yard box.
Bosz’s side appeared in rampant form but they were pegged back six minutes later as Caiuby applied a headed finish to Philipp Max’s superb cross from the left.
Hitz parried away a rasping Aubameyang strike, although he could only look on in grudging admiration when Kagawa restored Dortmund’s advantage.
A defensive mix-up between Max and Martin Hinteregger allowed Aubameyang to take possession inside the Augsburg box on the right and work the ball to Kagawa via Yarmolenko. On the edge of the area, the Japan star took aim and launched an audacious chip into the far corner.
Aubameyang should have made it three when he sprung the Augsburg offside trap but an array of stepovers did not distract Hitz, who also reacted well to keep Mahmoud Dahoud’s deflected 44th-minute effort out of the bottom right corner.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot, with Daniel Baier’s dipping long-ranger providing a nervous moment for Burki, who again failed to convince in dealing with set pieces.
Dortmund’s earlier fluency had all but deserted them by the time Yarmolenko made way for Maximilian Philipp in the 64th minute, however Aubameyang passed up another chance to seal the points when he powered a header from Christian Pulisic’s inviting centre straight at Hitz.
The Gabon star’s afternoon got worse 11 minutes from time when a referral to the Video Assistant Referee system penalised Augsburg substitute Ja-Cheol Koo for pulling Lukasz Piszczek’s shirt.
Shrugging off his previously lacklustre finishes, Aubameyang launched a “Panenka” penalty, only for Hitz to stand his ground and catch the ball with ease.
Thankfully for the normally prolific striker and his team-mates, the earlier and far more accomplished chip from Kagawa remained the game’s decisive moment after another wicked Max cross narrowly evaded both Finnbogason and the far post in stoppage time.
Key Opta stats:
– Dortmund have scored 32 goals vs Augsburg – no other team in Bundesliga can match this tally versus Augsburg.
– Aubameyang made his 200th appearance in a competitive game for Dortmund (133 goals).
– Aubameyang has missed four of his 12 penalties in the Bundesliga.