Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured 2016-17 will go down as his most prolific league season to date with the final goal in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Aubameyang passed up a pair of decent second-half chances before finishing a swift counter-attack to take his tally for the Bundesliga season to 26, improving on last-term’s 25-goal haul.
The Gabon international’s strike provided the gloss to a result that saw Dortmund recover from successive defeats to league leaders Bayern Munich and Monaco, the latter postponed by a day after an attack on the German side’s team bus on Tuesday that hospitalised Marc Bartra.
Coach Thomas Tuchel spoke of the need for his side to rediscover the fun in their football ahead of this match and they got off to a great start with Marco Reus marking his return from six weeks out with a thigh injury by scoring inside 120 seconds.
Marco Fabian made up for a glaring early miss with a fine equaliser, but Sokratis Papastathopoulos sent Dortmund into half-time ahead with searing drive from the edge of the box.
Reus did not return for the second half with Tuchel perhaps looking ahead to Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg in Monaco, but Aubameyang ensured the hosts did not relinquish their lead with a dinked finish that sends them 10 points clear of fifth-placed Hertha Berlin.
Reus took less than two minutes to reaffirm his importance to Dortmund. After showing great awareness to leave Aubameyang’s clipped pass for Christian Pulisic due to being in an offside position, he span away and flicked the United States international’s cutback home with a brilliant finish with his trailing leg.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 15, 2017
Dortmund controlled possession but Frankfurt were threatening on the counter-attack and created two great chances to level either side of a Lukas Hradecky save that denied Shinji Kagawa.
Fabian failed to steer Branimir Hrgota’s square pass home from just outside the six-yard box in the ninth minute before Mijat Gacinovic had a powerful volley turned over by Roman Burki.
Frankfurt pulled level in the 29th minute when Fabian drilled a phenomenal 20-yard strike into the top-right corner, a slight deflection off Nuri Sahin helping it on its way.
However, the Mexican was outdone five minutes later when Sokratis dribbled past Omar Mascarell and arrowed a thunderous shot beyond the helpless Hradecky from just outside the box.
Tuchel replaced Reus and Sven Bender with Ousmane Dembele and Matthias Ginter for the second half, which began in a low-key fashion that starkly contrasted the opening period.
A low left-wing cross from Dembele found Aubameyang in the box but the striker steered his shot over the top.
With Dortmund struggling to improve upon their lead, Fabian shaved the outside of the upright with a warning shot from 25 yards with 22 minutes remaining.
Aubameyang sent another header over the top before adding a fine finish to Dembele’s throughball in the 84th minute as Dortmund broke at speed following a Frankfurt corner, and their attention will now turn to overcoming their 3-2 quarter-final deficit at Monaco.
Key Opta stats:
– Borussia Dortmund have scored in each of their last 20 Bundesliga games, currently the best such run in the league. The last time BVB failed to score was on matchday nine vs Schalke (0-0).
– Marco Reus scored after 121 seconds, thus scoring Dortmund’s quickest goal of the season – and improving his own record by one second (122 seconds vs Mainz).
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