Berlin, Germany, Aug 27 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has resumed his duel with Robert Lewandowski to be the Bundesliga’s top scorer by netting twice in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Mainz on the opening weekend of the new season.
Aubameyang scored 25 German league goals last season, finishing second to Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski’s 30 in the scorers’ charts, and the duo look set to lead the way again in 2016/17.
Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in Bayern’s 6-0 rout of Werder Bremen on Friday and his Dortmund rival Aubameyang opened his account less than 24 hours later.
The Gabon star headed in a 17th-minute opener and then added a late penalty before Japan striker Yoshinori Muto pulled one back at the death for the visitors.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel was without Marco Reus, who was watching on in the stands as he recovers from a groin injury, but he started with three summer signings in his line-up.
He gave Bundesliga debuts to Spanish centre-back Marc Bartra, signed from Barcelona, and 19-year-old French winger Ousmane Dembele, brought in from Rennes, while ex-Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode also started.
Aubameyang was unmarked at the far post to head in the opener from a cross from the left by Germany winger Andre Schuerrle.
He then doubled his tally on 89 minutes when Schuerrle was brought down in the area and the Gabon star converted the resulting penalty, before Muto set up a nervous ending with a header in the 92nd minute.
“As far as I know my team, I can only think that they wanted to show everything they can do, which made things a bit nervous and not too tidy in our structure and the way we found space,” said Tuchel.
“Things were a bit tough, so it was a very laborious victory.”
– Cause for concern –
Bayern’s rout of Bremen is cause for concern in Germany with German Football League (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball admitting the opening fixture of the season on Friday will have done little to sell the Bundesliga overseas.
“Bayern played some very good football, but I was shocked by how little resistance Werder Bremen offered,” Rauball told German radio.
“No one can argue that the match was on a knife-edge, but I hope the millions of viewers were pleased with the goals and can take that as some compensation.”
Elsewhere, VfL Wolfsburg also got off to a winning start on Saturday with a 2-0 victory at Augsburg.
Star off-season signing, Germany striker Mario Gomez — the Bundesliga’s top scorer over the last decade — was not included in the starting line-up as he regains his fitness after injury at Euro 2016.
But his new team-mates picked up three points without him.
Wolves took the lead when Dutch striker Bas Dost fired across the face of goal and new signing Daniel Didavi lashed home a shot from the edge of the area on 35 minutes.
Swiss international left-back Ricardo Rodriguez then drove in a low free-kick on 89 minutes.
Cologne enjoyed a 2-0 win at Darmstadt as Marcel Risse and Anthony Modeste both netted for the hosts.
Hamburg were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Ingolstadt as US international Bobby Wood’s fine opening goal for the hosts was cancelled out by a late finish from Austria international Lukas Hinterseer.
Schalke 04 opened their season with a 1-0 defeat at 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt as captain Alex Meier scored the first-half winner.
There was plenty of second-half drama as Meier had a penalty saved before the hosts were reduced to 10 men when their Jamaica international centre-back Michael Hector was sent off for hauling down Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was through on goal.
Later Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at home in a battle of two of Germany’s Champions League representatives.
Andre Hahn scored for Gladbach just before the half-time whistle, only for Finland’s Joel Pohjanpalo to equalise on his debut on 79 minutes, before Lars Stindl hit the winner five minutes from time.