It’s still way too early in the season to declare a team as the best in Europe, but Borussia Dortmund, once again, should be mentioned as one of the top sides, with the combination that includes Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan providing the best football we’ve seen from anyone so far this season.
How good have they been? Dortmund are the only team in the Bundesliga to win all five matches so far, with a +12 goal difference at this stage, averaging 3.2 goals per contest. The 6-2 demolition of Hamburg was probably the best example of their ability to dominate and completely shut down rival teams, even if it did cost them a couple of goals.
Hamburg scored on their first two shots in the match, and managed to trouble Weidenfeller only two more times. In contrast, the blistering pace Dortmund play in resulted in 32 shots at goal, 21 of them coming from inside the box, and 14 of them going on target.
The movement, speed and fantastic passing between the front four leaves someone free almost every time they drive into the box. Robert Lewandowski was often the target for passes in the box, and Aubameyang was quite busy as well, also scoring a couple of goals, making it five for him in all competitions this season. Playing in a wider role than before, the Gabonese forward seems to be too fast for any German defense up to this point.
While Aubameyang threatens to reach any ball sent to him, the passing from behind him has been perfect. After Dortmund lost to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, it looked, for a moment, that this team was going to be broken up. But Dortmund have a vision, a way, and conviction. They have an excellent head coach who won’t let things get out of hand. They had no choice but to sell Mario Gotze, and that was it. Lewandowski stayed and is doing fine (4 league goals so far). Ilkay Gundogan remained, although his injury has pushed Nuri Sahin back to where he was three years ago. Mats Hummels didn’t go to Barcelona, and the defense has conceded only four goals this season.
The arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan puts Dortmund in line with any other team in Europe when it comes to the quality of their lineup. Dortmund have a system which allows a lot of fluidity and creativity within it, but it’s about putting the right people in the right slots. Mkhitaryan has made Gotze’s departure seem insignificant with his passing and scoring (three league goals so far), while the German starlet has barely played for Bayern Munich.
But the real star in all of this is Marco Reus, entering his second season with the team. He has two goals and two assists so far, which makes him statistically inferior to the rest of his frontline teammates, although he might be more responsible than any of them to the quality we’re seeing from Dortmund. We’ve already given you our opinion on who the number one player in Germany is, and with each performance Reus gives in another Dortmund masterpiece there’s less and less doubt about his place in the whole Gotze-Ozil-Reus discussion.