Dortmund - Although the dust is still settling on Matchday 1 of the new season, the 2012/13 campaign already feels a long time ago for Borussia Dortmund.
Hit the ground running
Defeat in the UEFA Champions League final to FC Bayern Munich capped off a frustrating term in which the Yellow-Blacks not only finished 25 points behind the Bavarians, but also lost their creative heartbeat to the newly-crowned champions too.
Yet victory in the gave the first tangible confirmation that the feeling of optimism that had been growing in the Dortmund camp in the wake of their summer signings was not misplaced.
And anyone who witnessed Dortmund's comprehensive 4-0 victory away to FC Augsburg last Saturday will have been left in no doubt that Jürgen Klopp's charges are primed for another tilt at silverware and look capable of giving Pep Guardiola’s Bayern a run for their money this time around.
More to come
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang announced his arrival with a superb hat-trick, quite rightly receiving the plaudits following his swashbuckling start. “It was a very good first game for him,” commented Robert Lewandowski, while Nuri Sahin was also impressed: "He scored three but what impressed me most of all was his defensive work, his work rate.”
On top of that, midfield schemer Henrikh Mkhitaryan's return to fitness imminent. The skilful Armenian looked tailor-made for Dortmund's playing style in pre-season prior to his injury, prompting comparisons with former star Shinji Kagawa. “A lot of "Micki's" movement is reminiscent of Shinji's," Klopp said. "He's incredibly dynamic, a very intelligent reader of the game and a great finisher. A top-class footballer all-round.”
A bigger threat?
With the new arrivals taking up much of the limelight, it is easy to forget that Dortmund also boast players of the calibre of Marco Reus, Ilkay Gündogan and Lewandowski in their squad.
Crucially, the side also kept a clean sheet on Saturday, which was by no means a foregone conclusion given Dortmund's leaky backline in 2012/13. “We've responded to our situation and the problems that arose last season,” Klopp said. “We think we're well set and ready to keep following our own path.” Señor Guardiola, you have been warned...