Borussia Dortmund struggled in their season opener, but earned all three points anyway thanks to the contributions of debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With his colleagues unable to break down FC Augsburg, the summer signing from St. Etienne made the difference, scoring a hat trick to power last season's runners-up to a 4-0 away win.
The first half began explosively, with Robert Lewandowski and Andre Hahn both grabbing chances in the first minute, but then the game settled down. It wasn't the pattern most would have been expecting, however -- much of the action was taking place in the visitors' half, with sloppy play the order of the day from Dortmund.
When the team as a whole is struggling, moments of magic can save the day, and that's exactly what happened in the 24th minute. Marcel Schmelzer went on an adventurous run up the left and sent in a wonderful, swerving cross. Lewandowski peeled away, removing Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker from the equation and allowing Aubameyang to meet the delivery with a diving header. Mohamed Amsif had no chance, and BVB were 1-0 up.
That goal briefly seemed as though it would dispel Dortmund's hangover. They stormed forward in the 10 minutes following Aubameyang's strike, and they did so with some swagger -- Ilkay Gundogan's overhead kick attempt might have looked silly, but at least it wasn't lacking in ambition. When Marco Reus rounded Amsif and slipped the ball back to Kevin Grosskreutz, it looked as though the visitors were going to pull away for good.
Then the shot was saved -- Amsif did very well to stand tall -- and Augsburg recovered. The end of the first half saw Mitchell Langerak's goal under siege. Sven Bender had to come to the rescue after Callsen-Bracker had beaten the goalkeeper with a header back across goal from a corner kick, the midfielder nodding clear from under his own bar to prevent the equaliser. Seconds later, Raphael Holzhauser's swerving hit from range forced an impressive, acrobatic save. Finishing also cost the hosts; who would have gone into the break level had Jan Moravek been able to keep his volley from the edge of the box on the correct side of the post.
Dortmund -- save for Aubameyang, who was a threat throughout -- continued to struggle after the break, and eventually Jurgen Klopp opted to change things up, replacing the ineffective Gundogan with Jakub Blaszczykowski and moving Reus to the centre. But despite the change, it was the hosts who had the next big chance, with Sascha Molders beating Mats Hummels to a free kick only to flash his header over Langerak's crossbar.
Eventually, though, Klopp's substitution started to bear fruit. Amsif was forced into his first save of the half when he scrambled Reus' free kick out from under his crossbar, but the tide had turned, and Aubameyang killed off Augburg's resistance when he broke free and tucked a right-footed finish inside the far post to make it 2-0 with 66 minutes gone.
With a two-goal cushion, Dortmund were safe, and Aubameyang struck again to add some gloss to the scoreline as the game wound down. Lewandowski, anonymous for most of the afternoon, finally sprung to life with a glorious outside-of-the-boot through pass that split open the hosts' defence. Aubameyang raced onto the ball, rounded Amsif, and slotted home to secure victory.
There was time for another after Jonas Hoffman earned a penalty with a strong run on the left, Lewandowski lashing into the roof of the net after referee Knut Kircher pointed to the spot. The 4-0 scoreline flattered the visitors, but Dortmund deserved the win -- they had Aubameyang and Augsburg did not. Not a bad debut for the 24-year-old
FC Augsberg (4-1-4-1): Amsif; Ostrzolek, Klavan, Callsen-Bracker, Verhaegh; Baier; Holzhauser (Vlachodimos 77'), Moravek, Altintop (Philp 77'), Hahn (Vogt 84'); Molders.
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Langerak; Schmelzer, Hummels, Subotic, Grosskruetz; Sahin, Bender; Reus, Gundogan (Blaszczykowski 57'), Aubameyang (Hofmann 81'); Lewandowski (Durm 88').
Goals: Aubameyang (24', 66', 79'), Lewandowski (86' p).