Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang marked his return to the Borussia Dortmund line-up in emphatic fashion by scoring four goals in an impressive 5-2 victory over Bundesliga strugglers Hamburg at the Volksparkstadion.
It was a fine response from Aubameyang, who was left out of the 1-0 Champions League win against Sporting CP on Wednesday due to “internal reasons” having reportedly attended a party in Italy without permission.
Concerns over any lingering discord were dispelled when the striker ran to the dugout and embraced coach Thomas Tuchel after opening the scoring with his quickest Bundesliga goal in the fourth minute.
The imperious Aubameyang was unrelenting and made the most of shoddy Hamburg defending to complete his third hat-trick in the German top flight by the 27th minute.
A rifled fourth early in the second half increased the Gabon international’s tally, helping ensure that Dortmund’s four-match winless streak in the Bundesliga – their worst run since Tuchel took the helm for the 2015-16 season – came to an end.
Nicolai Muller ended Hamburg’s run of over 700 league minutes without a goal as part of a second-half double, but substitute Ousmane Dembele had already put Dortmund out of reach as they won away at Hamburg for the first time since January 2012.
The day, however, belonged to Aubameyang, who did not take long to get off the mark on his return.
Rene Adler kept out Emre Mor’s strike from Christian Pulisic’s cutback but palmed it straight to Aubameyang, who tapped home from inside the six-yard box.
Dortmund were rampant and Aubameyang doubled his tally in the 23rd minute when Mor’s pressing forced Johan Djourou into a weak backpass that he pounced upon, drawing Adler out before squaring for the former AC Milan striker to slot into the vacant net.
Just four minutes later Aubameyang completed his hat-trick, latching onto Marc Bartra’s header and squeezing a shot past Adler and into the bottom-right corner.
The striker was the beneficiary of slack defending from idle centre-back Cleber, who was whistled by the Hamburg faithful when making way for Albin Ekdal in the 31st minute.
Markus Gisdol’s substitution provided Hamburg with greater stability in midfield, but defensive errors once again proved their undoing three minutes after the restart.
Djourou and Emir Spahic failed to adequately clear the ball and Pulisic stole in to feed Aubameyang, who drilled across Adler and into the bottom-left corner to become the first BVB player to score four times in a single Bundesliga game since Michael Zorc in 1988.
The red-hot Dortmund striker shot wide moments later before Muller reduced the deficit for HSV when he outpaced Sokratis Papastathopoulos and guided a cool finish beyond Roman Burki.
Referee Sascha Stegemann ruled out Michael Gregoritsch’s goal for a push on Matthias Ginter and Dembele, on in place of Pulisic in the 68th minute, took full advantage by firing home from an Aubameyang pass eight minutes later.
There was still time for another consolation for the hosts, Muller beating Burki with a low drive from the edge of the box, but they remain without a win in 10 Bundesliga outings as their worst start to a top-flight campaign continues.