Aubameyang, Philipp earn perfect 10s, as Dortmund rout Monchengladbach
Borussia Dortmund keep marching on at the top of the table, dismantling Borussia Monchengladbach in an impressive 6-1 showing at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday night.
After Bayern Munich dropped points at the Allianz Arena on Friday night in a 2-2 draw against Wolfsburg, it was on BVB to take advantage and move three points clear of their Bavarian rivals -- and they did just that with a demonstration of power.
The Black and Yellows stay perfect in the "Englische Woche," winning all three matches within seven days. A secret of their success is once again their squad depth. BVB shellacked Gladbach while resting their best attacking player from Wednesday's 3-0 win in Hamburg in Andriy Yarmolenko. Maximilian Philipp, Julian Weigl, Jeremy Toljan and Mario Gotze rotated into the team without a drop-off in quality.
Dieter Hecking's side sat deep in a 4-4-2 shape, trying to hit Dortmund on the counter. But even against a well-organised defense, the hosts found a way to create quality scoring opportunities about 20 minutes in. BVB scored off wing-play, set pieces and through balls down the middle. In other words, they have all the tools to break down their opponents while playing a controlled possession brand of football.
Despite Dortmund's overwhelming success, they once again were terribly susceptible to counter-attacks. It was 3-0 at half-time but it may as well have been 3-3. Real Madrid visit on Tuesday and will be much more ruthless than sloppy Gladbach. As good as Dortmund was on Saturday, it could be another rude awakening against more skillful opposition in the Champions League.
Manager rating out of 1010 -- BVB's fun factor was a 10 out of 10 on the night. That obviously comes to Peter Bosz, who loves to entertain.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 7 -- Burki kicked the post in frustration after Lars Stindl was the first to beat him in the Bundesliga. The Swiss international had to make four good saves to keep his sheet clean. After 65 minutes, he was beaten.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 6 -- In the first half, Piszczek's back-pass went straight into the path of a Gladbach attacker. On Tuesday, such a brain fart will be deadly.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 8 -- The stadium roared when Sokratis got a deserved rest in the 83rd minute. His vertical pass in the 45th minute across 40 metres that was picked up by Philipp and squared to Aubameyang for a 3-0 half-time lead was absolutely magnificent.
DF Omer Toprak, 7 -- Another solid showing by Toprak.
DF Jeremy Toljan, 7 -- Started on Dortmund's left side. Picked up his first assist on BVB's second goal, playing in Philipp with a cutback.
MF Mahmoud Dahoud, 8 -- Dahoud is slowly but surely finding his feet at Dortmund. In the 38th minute, he pounced on an error by former BVB defender Matthias Ginter and found Toljan to his left for a hockey assist. He picked up an assist in the 62nd minute, pining a stray ball of Jannik Vestergaard into Aubameyang's path first-time.
MF Julian Weigl, 8 -- It was Weigl's first start since his injury. He had one wobble in the first half that led to a Gladbach chance. His first-ever Bundesliga goal in the 79th minute stole the show as he hoofed it from just outside the box into the top right corner, giving Tobias Sippel no chance.
MF Mario Gotze, 8 -- Gotze picked up an assist shortly after the break. More importantly, however, he brings structure to BVB's possession game. Teamed up with fine footballers such as Weigl and Dahoud, the Black and Yellows have the technical ability to comfortably play the ball in tight spaces.
FW Christian Pulisic, 7 -- No goal or assist from the U.S. international.That being said, he did show skills in the second half that were worth the entrance fee alone.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 10 -- Moved into fourth place on BVB's all-time goalscorer list, topping BVB legend Timo Konietzka. Two more goals to pass third-placed Lothar Emmerich.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 10 -- Could there be a better replacement for Marco Reus? Philipp once again impressed with superb runs. In the NFL, he'd possibly be a good wide receiver. In the Bundesliga he's a good finisher. His technique was pure quality on both his goals and his assist.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 6 -- Replaced Pulisic in the 64th minute to further display BVB's embarrassment of riches in midfield.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 6 -- Came on in the 70th minute for Piszczek, who was in dire need of a rest.
DF Marc Bartra, NR -- Had a seven-minute cameo in his comeback from injury.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.