Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plundered four goals in Borussia Dortmund’s 5-2 thrashing of Hamburger SV on Matchday 10, moving level with 1. FC Köln’s Anthony Modeste as the top scorer in the Bundesliga, and indeed all of Europe.
“I am really glad we won because there was a lot of pressure before the match because we had not won in the Bundesliga for so long,” said the striker, whose four-goal salvo almost single-handedly ended Borussia Dortmund's four-game Bundesliga run without victory.
Watch: Full highlights of Aubameyang's four-star show in Hamburg
Seeler, scorer of 404 goals in 476 games for the Red Shorts and a FIFA World Cup runner up with West Germany in 1966, was serenaded before kick-off, but only four minutes had passed by the time the Gabon international dampened any further HSV celebrations.
Watch: Aubameyang delights in four-goal salvo:
After the opening goal - a tap-in after Rene Adler had parried Emre Mor’s shot - Aubameyang made a beeline for his coach, Thomas Tuchel. “I apologised to him after my goal, and he told me that I should score two more goals and I said okay!” said a beaming Aubameyang in his post-match interview.
Although he scored 25 goals last season - the second-best return in the Bundesliga - Aubameyang was left out of the squad Dortmund’s recent 1-0 win over Sporting Clube de Portugal in the UEFA Champions League for internal disciplinary reasons. The 27-year-old was keen to extend an olive branch after the win against HSV, though.
"I made a mistake and apologised to the coach and the whole team before the Sporting match,” said Aubameyang. “I am really happy that I scored four goals today and helped the team. I do not want to risk my good relationship with the coach.”
Watch: Happy Birthday, Uwe Seeler!
Perhaps assuaged by Aubamayang’s first ever single-game four-goal haul, Tuchel was also in the mood for re-building bridges.
"Four goals - that exceeds every expectation, even for a top striker,” said Tuchel. “It’s clear that we can’t achieve any of our aims without Aubameyang. That is why it is fantastic to have such a player. He can make the difference in any situation."
Aubameyang left the pitch at the Volksparkstadion with the match ball tucked proudly under his arm. "I always keep the match ball when I score three goals,” he said. “My son gets the ball as a gift."
As if sealing his third Bundesliga hat-trick was not enough, though, Aubemeyang went on to grab his fourth goal in the 48th minutes, before teeing up Ousmane Dembele to make it 5-2 in the closing stages.
"I’ve never managed to score four goals in a game before," Aubameyang said. Not many have. The last Schwarzgelben player to manage the feat was current sporting director Michael Zorc, in a 4-2 win over Bayer Uerdingen back in 1988.
This victory came at the perfect time for BVB, whose last win in the Bundesliga was a 3-1 triumph over SC Freiburg on Matchday 5. Their next test after the international break is the visit of champions FC Bayern München.
"I heard that Bayern only drew 1-1, that's good,” said Aubameyang. “Now we are only six points behind. We have a chance to make the title chase exciting again in the next game.”
The man who pipped Aubameyang to the Torjägerkanone last season? Robert Lewandowski. Bayern come to the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK with their top scorer on seven goals, now four behind Aubameyang. The Poland captain never managed to score four in a game in his time at Dortmund, but BVB’s current talisman respects the threat he poses.
"Lewa knows how to score goals. It's nice to come up against him again."