Bad Ragaz - When the offer arrived for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join Borussia Dortmund, the 24-year-old needed no convincing whatsoever.
No problems settling in
“It was an easy decision. I came here because BVB are a massive club that can help me become a better player,” said the former AC Milan forward in his first official press conference since joining the Yellow Blacks from AS Saint-Etienne.
Linking up with the UEFA Champions League finalists can be considered a step up from playing for Saint-Etienne, who finished in fifth place in Ligue 1 in 2012/13. However, Aubameyang isn’t worried about making his own mark in Dortmund. “I don’t see myself having any difficulties playing here because this team is full of world-class players."
One of those stars is fellow newboy Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with whom Aubameyang has been particularly impressed. “Micky is a world-class player,” he says of the Armenian international. The two of them, who communicate together in French, both turned in excellent displays during Saturday’s 4-1 friendly win over Bursaspor, in which Aubameyang grabbed his debut goal from a Mkhitaryan assist.
Noting the changes
Jürgen Klopp’s BVB team have become synonymous with an energetic, high-pressing style of football, something to which Aubameyang is gradually becoming accustomed to. "I've noticed that the coach puts a lot of emphasis on pressing and winning the ball back quickly. We didn’t play that type of football at Saint-Etienne.”
One thing he will be making use of from his time in France, however, is his versatility. Aubameyang is comfortable playing on the either wing or leading the attack, which he credits his former coach for. “I was taught how to play in different positions, so I really don’t mind where I play.”
One of the lads
Mkhitaryan isn’t the only one being schooled on what it means to play for BVB. Aubameyang is also a willing student, but instead of die-hard club fan Kevin Großkreutz being his mentor, the Gabon international is undergoing a more laid-back introduction from midfielder Ilkay Gündogan.
“Ilkay is a really great lad. He speaks a bit of French and he’s helping me with the odd few words in German. As yet we haven’t sung any songs together, but I've made a list of some phrases that I’ll need out on the pitch. I’ll try and make sure he is my room-mate next time as well.”
His final season in France ended with a winner’s medal in the French League Cup and Aubameyang has already set his sights on silverware for his new employers. “I’ve never played in this stadium [Signal Iduna Park], but I’m really impressed by it. I’m delighted to be here and I want to win a title in my first season, all of them if possible. I’m a player that wants to win things.”
His first chance of doing just that will be during the Supercup, when BVB host defending league and DFB Cup champions FC Bayern Munich on 27 July.