Who needs Ousmane Dembele? Andriy Yarmolenko stars as Dortmund edge win
Dortmund forward Andriy Yarmolenko has hit the ground running since replacing the sold Ousmane Dembele and was crucial to their 2-1 win in Augsburg. The Bundesliga leaders were not at their best but got the job done.
Yarmolenko is congratulated for his early goal
Some Dortmund fans may have feared the effects the departure of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona might have on their attack. Those worries have been soothed by the form of replacement Andriy Yarmolenko, who scored a wonderful backheel in a tight 2-1 win at Augsburg on Saturday.
Shinji Kagawa rivaled Yarmolenko's brilliance with a delightful chip to put the Bundesliga leaders in front again following Caiuby's leveler. But it was the Ukraine forward who saw the Japan international in space and played him the ball.
Dortmund were clinging on at times in probably their worst performance under new coach Peter Bosz and could have been more comfortable if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had not made a slight fool of himself by chipping a "Panenka" penalty straight at Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.
But Yarmolenko was the man who stood out and it can easily be argued that Dortmund are actually stronger now in attacking areas than they were last season despite France winger Dembele's €100 million plus move to Spain.
The massive price tag belied the fact that Dembele, 20, was still a work in progress and could have off days and make poor decisions close to goal. By contrast, Yarmolenko is a seasoned international at 27, used to Champions League football with previous club Dynamo Kiev.
Yarmolenko could even play as sole striker
He has slotted in better than Dortmund could have hoped. Far from being the workhorse some fans assumed he was, Yarmolenko has shown real moments of class during his short Dortmund career with the fourth-minute back-heel at Augsburg inspired, lethal and perfectly executed.
Bulky Yarmolenko gives Dortmund the added bonus of being able to play upfront on his own should anything happen to Aubameyang (or Bosz drops him for his silly penalty miss).
Dembele could not have filled in as main striker.
Looking at the rest of Dortmund's squad, it is beginning to look like the Dembele sale might have been a blessing in disguise given the funds and other players that were brought in.
Maximilan Philipp was rested on the bench against Augsburg but is another winger to have made a good start to life at Dortmund having signed from Freiburg, scoring two goals in last weekend's 6-1 romp over Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The fact injury victims Marco Reus and Andre Schürrle also play on the wing shows how many options Bosz will ultimately have. That is bound freak out Bayern Munich supporters, who already see unbeaten Dortmund top of the tree while their own side look for a permanent or semi-permanent coach.
Other Matchday 7 takeways
- Young French striker Sebastien Haller is fast making a name for himself at Eintracht Frankfurt. His late bicycle kick sealed a 2-1 win over Stuttgart and will make Bundesliga watchers take notice of someone they might not have heard of
- Holger Badstuber made a bad mistake to gift Frankfurt their opener. Schalke and Bayern did not want him and it is sad when injury limits a player's development.
- After weeks of controversy, the video assistant referee system worked well on Saturday with two free-kicks rightly awarded instead of penalties and two spotkicks correctly given