Borussia Dortmund plundered three goals in 10 second-half minutes to return to the Bundesliga summit with a 5-0 thrashing of Cologne on Sunday.
Leading 2-0 at the break, the hosts turned on the style in a scintillating spell after the interval as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Maximilian Philipp both bagged braces – the latter claiming his first goals for the club.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos also got in on the scoring fun to extend the hosts’ unbeaten start to their league campaign.
On the back of their Europa League drama away to Arsenal on Thursday, bottom-placed Cologne posed few problems throughout the match and never recovered from Philipp’s second-minute opener.
Dortmund twice benefited from the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee, but it was Aubameyang’s quickfire double after the restart which turned the contest into a rout.
Andriy Yarmolenko also starred following his superb Champions League goal against Tottenham as Peter Bosz’s side recovered from that 3-1 loss to canter to victory and a fourth straight Bundesliga clean sheet.
Yarmolenko’s superb strike in midweek offered a glimpse of his talent and the Ukraine star needed just two minutes of his first league start to further underline his class, dribbling beyond his marker and whipping in a superb cross for Philipp to nod in the opener.
An unmarked Aubameyang should have doubled the advantage 15 minutes later when Gonzalo Castro touched a deft knock-down into his path, but Timo Horn did well to tip the miscued effort around the post.
Yarmolenko continued to cause problems throughout the first half as Philipp, Lukasz Piszczek and Nuri Sahin all tried their luck around the half-hour mark.
The winger then directed a header wide from Piszczek’s cross as Dortmund looked to take complete control before the break, although their momentum momentarily stalled when Sokratis required treatment.
However, the Greece defender recovered to poke his side into a 2-0 lead on the stroke of half-time, punishing Horn for spilling a corner as the referee called on the VAR to reverse his initial decision of handball.
Aubameyang’s struggles in front of goal continued immediately after the restart when he broke through one-on-one, only to sidefoot his finish narrowly wide of the far post.
The speedy forward was instead gifted the chance to open his account from the penalty spot when the VAR spotted a handball in the area by Cologne defender Lukas Klunter.
After dispatching the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner, Aubameyang made it two in two minutes as he tucked away Piszczek’s smart low cross for a sudden 4-0 lead.
And it truly became a rout when Philipp capped the stunning 10-minute burst by deftly adding his second of the match from Mahmoud Dahoud’s incisive pass.
Roman Burki was called on to make a rare save from Klunter in the closing stages, preserving his fourth league shut-out as Dortmund sounded a significant warning to their title rivals.
Key Opta stats:
– For the first time Cologne have lost their first four games of a Bundesliga season. Zero points and a minus 11 goal difference is the second worst start in Bundesliga history after four games. Only Karlsruhe had a worse start, in 1963-64 with no points and -13 goals.
– Borussia Dortmund extended their club record run to 40 unbeaten home matches in the Bundesliga (W33, D7). Their last home loss came in April 2015 against Bayern Munich (0-1).
– Cologne suffered their heaviest defeat under manager Peter Stoger. Their last three defeats by five goals came against Dortmund.