Braunschweig - Twenty-four hours ago, Borussia Dortmund were scratching their heads in desperate need of a remedy for an unheard of three-match losing streak. As it turned out, all Jürgen Klopp's team needed was one purgative trip to lowly Eintracht Braunschweig.
'A top forward'
Although Matchday 19's 2-1 win away to the Bundesliga strugglers didn't exactly come with all the trimmings, it nevertheless gives Klopp's injury-ravaged ensemble something to work with in the jam-packed weeks ahead.
"Actually my co-coach Zeljko Buvac and I always like to celebrate a win with a little beer on the team bus," beamed a relieved Klopp. "Before the game I said to Zeljko that I had the taste for it again. We concentrated on the job and didn't take Braunschweig for granted. It's a step forwards. Now we have to press on."
Klopp was only too happy to raise a glass to matchwinner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gabon international having scored both goals at the Eintracht Stadion, despite enjoying as few touches of the ball as goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. "The way he put both goals away was sensational," exalted BVB's head coach. "He's got all the attributes a top forward needs."
'We can still improve'
The hope now is that Aubameyang’s "ice cold" touch rubs off on the rest of the Dortmund dressing room. "We were stupid not to have made more of our chances," admitted fellow forward Marco Reus. "We got off lightly in the end, but it’s the result that matters. We had the better of it even though we can still improve."
Dortmund's all-too familiar tale of spurned chances did not go unnoticed by Turkey international midfielder Nuri Sahin either. "We have to wrap things up earlier," he explained. "Although right now we just have to make do with winning the hard way."
The fact BVB managed to grind out their first win in the Bundesliga since November owes much to the return of defensive rock Mats Hummels, who saw more of the ball (92 touches) than any of his Dortmund colleagues, whilst completing 85.3 per cent of his attempted passes following a nine-week spell on the sidelines through injury. "We're just so much more dominant when he plays," said Sahin of the 25-year-old Germany international.
The acquisition of Serbia international midfielder Milos Jojic, meanwhile, has given BVB further cause for optimism as they prepare to wrestle back second place from Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Regardless of whether the 21-year-old is unleashed against SV Werder Bremen on Matchday 20, sporting director Michael Zorc is quietly confident renascent BVB have snared another "one for the future."
Alexander Barklage / Adaptation: Christopher Mayer-Lodge