Augsburg - It was FC Augsburg's SGL Arena rather than Real Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabéu for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday and they dealt with the transition successfully, heading home from Bavarian Swabia with three Bundesliga points in the bag.
Their hard-earned 3-1 victory notwithstanding, last season's domestic double winners remain eleven points adrift of Bayern Munich after the division pace-setters likewise took a maximum haul from their home meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt. It was, nonetheless, a doubly welcome result given both BVB's strenuous midweek encounter in the Spanish capital and the fact that they had won only one of their previous four outings in the top flight.
Marco Reus set the Yellow-Blacks on the road to success with an inspired free kick and Robert Lewandowski completed the job with a true goal-grabber's brace after the restart, against a resilient home side. It was far from being a powerhouse Dortmund performance, with Reus himself pointing out that his early opener "should have played into our hands, but it didn't. We couldn't hold our shape". But a combination of Augsburg's profligacy, some fine goalkeeping from Roman Weidenfeller and the aforementioned opportunism up front brought about the desired end.
All-in-all, it has been a particularly fruitful few days for BVB's stand-out attacking talents, Mario Götze included. On the back of a frustrating goalless draw against VfB Stuttgart, Jürgen Klopp's frontmen came up trumps in Madrid on Tuesday evening, combining to produce a couple of excellent first-half goals against their esteemed hosts.
Assists good, goals better
Reus, astutely freed up by Lewandowski, drilled the first high into the net past Real keeper Iker Casillas to put Borussia into a 28th minute lead and after Pepe had cancelled that one out, Lewandowski combined with Kevin Großkreutz to set up Götze for a smart finish - albeit one technically 'credited' to home defender Alvaro Arbeloa, who inadvertently provided the last touch. Asked after the contest about his pivotal role in both goals, Lewandowski acknowledged: "I'm very happy to lay them on, of course, but it would have been even better if I'd put one away myself."
The Poland international came good on that at Augsburg, chipping in indeed with his first double-pack of the season. "Obviously I'm very happy to have scored twice, that was very important for me personally, but what matters most is that we took the three points here today," said the man who finished third-top of last season's Bundesliga scoring chart on 22 goals.
Where does it go from here?
Counting the UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup, Dortmund are now at any rate unbeaten in their last six outings, two epic encounters with those Madrilenian giants of the world game included. All things considered, it has been a more than decent response to the bitter disappointment of the 2-1 home loss to Ruhr district rivals Schalke 04 on Matchday 8.
And given the new level of maturity they have been displaying in Europe's elite club competition, the unequivocal recent demonstrations by Lewandowski and his frontline colleagues of their international pedigree and, last but not least, their proven ability to grind out a "gritty, workmanlike win" (Mats Hummels) à la Augsburg, Borussia Dortmund might now perhaps be on the brink of taking their game up to an even higher level.