Frankfurt - While Borussia Dortmund moving to the league summit after their narrow victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday would normally be enough to make the headlines in itself, Henrikh Mkhitaryan's match-winning display has stolen the limelight somewhat.
All according to plan
Four wins in as many games leaves BVB still on maximum points, having equalled their own record start to a top-flight league season.
According to Marcel Schmelzer, that was always the plan. “Twelve points from the first four games is what we were targeting before the season started,” he said. “We desperately wanted to win these first matches.”
Although the Yellow-Blacks' defence appeared vulnerable at times, Sunday’s game also demonstrated that their attack remains in safe hands, with Mkhitaryan scoring his first Bundesliga goal early on and adding a second after the break.
Miki the master
“It was an important game for Miki today,” said Schmelzer. “It'll give him more self-confidence and help him settle into his new surroundings.” The Armenian international already seems to have done just that following his summer switch from Shakhtar Donetsk.
“Miki's the complete player,” head coach Jürgen Klopp enthused. “He has a great shot on him, he moves well and plays intelligently. He took his two goals really well, and in addition to all that, he has a great personality and it’s a real pleasure working with him.” The 24-year-old midfielder is now turning that skillset towards helping his national team in their FIFA World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Denmark.
Still work to do
When he returns, there seems to be little doubt about his ability to pick up where he left off in Frankfurt. "We’re going to have a lot of joy with him,” predicted Schmelzer, who could easily have been speaking not only for his Dortmund team-mates, but also for neutral followers of the game across the globe.
Nevertheless, Klopp still sees considerable room for improvement, noting that, “We didn't press them hard enough after conceding and gave them far too many chances from set pieces.” Neven Subotic, who was kept busy at the heart of the defence, also saw plenty that needs to be worked on over the next fortnight. “We’ve made it our aim to concede fewer goals this season and we can still do a lot better,” the Serbia international said. Ominous words, coming from the only team yet to drop a point...