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Aubameyang eyes Lewandowski duel

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has thrown down a challenge to Robert Lewandowski after opening his account for the new season with a brace in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Mainz.

The Gabon international striker, who scored 25 league goals last season, headed his side in front on 17 minutes before converting a penalty late on.

Meanwhile Lewandowski, who topped the Bundesliga goal charts last term with 30, claimed a hat-trick in Bayern Munich’s opening game which saw them hammer Werder Bremen 6-0 on Friday.

Aubameyang, however, is keen to go toe-to-toe in the goalscoring stakes with the prolific Pole.

“I feel very good,” he said. “I’m ready to compete with Robert Lewandowski for the crown as the Bundesliga’s top scorer. 

“But I need to thank my team-mates. It wasn’t easy out there today due to the weather, but we still managed to start the season with a win. We can be happy.”

New signing Andre Schurrle had a hand in both of Aubameyang’s goals, providing a pinpoint cross for the first and being pulled down in the box for the late penalty.

And the performance of the 25-year-old close-season recruit from Wolfsburg drew praise from Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel.

“He came very late to us,” said Tuchel. “But he was in a good physical condition, so he can play 90 minutes in this heat. 

“That is very important for us. Today he was involved in two goals. 

“If you look at him, how glad he was when Auba converted the penalty, you can guess that he plays gladly for Dortmund. He absolutely wants it. In the moment, you can see that he brings all the energy. 

“That is a very successful start for him, but it is just the start and it’s going to go on.”

Another of Dortmund’s new recruits, Sebastian Rode, admitted that his new side had been forced to dig deep to secure the win over a battling Mainz side looking to build on last season’s sixth-placed finish.

“It was extremely important to start the season with a victory,” he said. “We didn’t get into the game so well. Mainz did not make it easy for us. We didn’t play the ball forward quickly enough. 

“But ultimately all that counts in the end is the three points and we can build on that. 

“Out there on the pitch, it was clear to us that we were not as lively as we could have been at certain points due to the temperatures, but overall we put in a decent performance.”

Sat 27 Aug, 2016
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