Augsburg - They may have been made to work hard for their first three points of the season, but their victory over FC Augsburg on Friday night was a step back in the right direction for Borussia Dortmund.
The Westphalians risked throwing away a three-goal lead at the SGL Arena as their hosts mounted a spirited late comeback, but after holding on for the three points, only the positives prevailed.
"We've got to think positively and I think we took a step forwards in the first half," said Marco Reus, who contributed a goal and an assist in Bavaria, and could easily have been speaking for himself as much as he was talking on behalf of the BVB team. "We were more courageous [than against Leverkusen] and we played more like you would imagine a Dortmund side to perform."
Behind the positive aspects, however, lurked a not-so-hidden warning that Dortmund must heed in the coming weeks. "We can't hide from the fact that we didn't play the same football in the second half that we'd played in the first," Reus continued. "We were just too passive and lost our way. That kind of thing should never be happening to a club like Borussia Dortmund, particularly in view of the Champions League."
Tightening up for Europe
On Europe's biggest stage, the sort of gaps Dortmund left for Augsburg are likely to be exploited more ruthlessly than they were on Friday evening. Leverkusen demonstrated that a week ago with a 2-0 win at the Signal Iduna Park, although that result has long been consigned to the history books. "You've always got to be able to put things behind you quickly in football and move on," said experienced midfielder Sebastian Kehl.
"That applies as much to big victories as it does to defeats. You've got to analyse them for a certain length of time, then look forwards again. That's what we did this week and we provided the right response today." Kehl accepts, however, that their response could have been more emphatic in this instance.
"We had some chances that we really should have taken," he continued. "We should have scored a fourth or a fifth goal, so we've only got ourselves to blame really. We didn't have to make it so exciting, but we were dominating and I think we were always in control of the match. This was a step forwards for us after the Leverkusen game."
The magnitude of the victory is certainly not lost on the 34-year-old, who stood down as Dortmund captain only last month. "Can you imagine what the fuss would have been like if we'd lost tonight? It was incredibly important for us to win at a time like this," he explained. "It will definitely make the next two weeks easier." Their first points of the season safely in the bag, the only way is up for Kehl and his Borussia Dortmund colleagues.