Borussia Dortmund remain on top of the Bundesliga after Matchday five, dismantling Hamburg 3-0 at the Volksparkstadion on Wednesday night. Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic put their names on the scoresheet but the real star of Dortmund's domestic season so far is their defence, picking up a fifth consecutive clean sheet.
The match on the muddy pitch in Hamburg wasn't always easy on the eyes. Both teams applied their pressing well to make it a scrappy game where the ball saw a lot of hang-time. Dortmund's pass completion rate dropped to 71 percent versus a season average of 83 percent, while 22 percent of their passes were long balls (12 percent season average), highlighting that this wasn't a showing as dominant as the previous four matches.
But winning comfortably 3-0 in the end while not being on top of their game is all the more telling for the Black and Yellows, as this is usually the making of a team that is battling for the title. Of course, Dortmund has had the easier schedule thus far compared to Bayern's but if BVB keep doing what they are doing, the Bundesliga could be in for some excitement concerning first place. There are still 29 matchdays to go, however.
The contest could have very well been over after 45 minutes if it wasn't for Dortmund's lack of composure on their counter-attacks after Kagawa put them in front after 24 minutes. The Ruhr side did outnumber the Rothosen several times while darting forward but a overhit pass here and a questionable decision there meant that Dortmund had to wait until after the hour-mark before Aubameyang's tap-in brought a bit more comfort.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Peter Bosz made two changes from the starting XI against Koln, bringing in Pulisic for Maximilian Philipp and Shinji Kagawa for Mahmoud Dahoud.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 7 -- HSV are leading the Bundesliga in crosses played into the box. Burki showed a safe pair of hands to hold onto many low crosses. Had he spilt the ball, the match could have taken a different direction.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 7 -- The right-back had some heavy touches but that shouldn't distract from a very bright performance in which he won won a lot of battles on his right side.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 6 -- Won 100 percent of his aerial duels, which was key against Hamburg.
DF Omer Toprak, 8 -- Another blinding performance by Toprak, who suffocated a lot of Hamburg's attacking momentum with good positioning and once again, impressed with clean passing out of the back. As harsh as it may sound on the now-Gladbach centre-back, having Toprak instead of Matthias Ginter could very well be the difference for BVB's defensive exploits. Picking up the assist for Dortmund's first goal by heading down a set piece was the cherry on top.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 7 -- Eighteen years old and as cool as a cucumber. Zagadou never looks like he's breaking a sweat when midfielders press him and usually has a good solution with the ball at his feet. A 100 percent tackling success. Woof!
MF Gonzalo Castro, 6 -- Solid match. Nothing more, nothing less.
MF Nuri Sahin, 6 -- Sahin had a poor first half by his own standards but improved in the second half -- and deserved an assist for his spectacular 40-metre pass to Aubameyang.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 7 -- Kagawa opened his own account in the 24th minute, scoring the rebound off a set piece. He showed his quality as he took his time to place the ball out of reach for every Hamburg defender. Subbed off in the 66th minute due to muscular problems.
FW Andriy Yarmolenko, 8 -- Arguably the man of the match. Yarmolenko bossed Hamburg's defence, creating five chances and picking up an assist on Aubameyang's goal in the second half. His crosses are a real threat and his integration into the Bundesliga looks seamless.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 -- Scored his ninth goal in his ninth outing against Hamburg. It could have been more but the Gabonese put two promising chances just ever so slightly off target.
FW Christian Pulisic, 7 -- Pulisic draws records to his name like a magnet. His goal to make it 3-0 was the 3,000th goal for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. The teenager's pass completion was 10 percent above everyone else's on his team. He just likes playing against HSV.
MF Mahmoud Dahoud, 7 -- Dahoud is slowly but surely falling into place nicely for his new club. Another nifty assist by the substitute, who entered the field in the 66th minute.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 5 -- Not as imposing as he was on Sunday after coming on with 23 minutes to spare.
DF Jacob Bruun Larsen, NR -- The 19-year-old made his Bundesliga debut after already featuring in the DFB-Pokal from the start in the last campaign. He replaced a tired Zagadou for the final five minutes.