Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their Champions League blues by beating hapless FC Cologne 5-0 at the Westfalenstadion. The Black and Yellows remain top of the table with 10 goals for and zero goals against after four match days. Due to a controversial VAR call, the guests have protested the match and sought a replay.
After a disappointing scoreless draw at Freiburg last week and an even more disappointing 3-1 defeat at Tottenham, Peter Bosz’s side were in dire need of a positive result. Bottom-of-the-table Cologne were a welcome sparring partner and BVB enever looked back after Maximilian Philipp’s header put them up in the second minute.
There was a lot of talk about Dortmund having a bloated squad at the start of the season but they were unable to fill their bench with six outfield players on Sunday; Jeremy Toljan was sidelined due to muscular problems and Mario Gotze was also absent. They should both be back soon, though, along with Marc Bartra and Andre Schurrle.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Bosz gave Christian Pulisic a rest and only played him off the bench, which was a good call as his replacement Philipp scored a brace.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 6 — The goalkeeper hardly had anything to do until Dan-Axel Zagadou lost the ball to Lukas Klunter in the 80th minute. Burki stood his ground.
DF Łukasz Piszczek, 6 — Piszczek had little to do in the defensive department. His assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second was a pinpoint low cross.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7 — It was a fight of heavyweights between Sokratis and Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba, which the Dortmund man won over 12 rounds. In injury time of the first half, Sokratis could even indulge in a belated goal celebration after VAR controversially overruled the referee.
DF Omer Toprak, 8 — Arguably his best match in a BVB shirt, he managed to impress with superb passing out of the back. The only grain of salt is that it came against tame opposition.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 6 — Once again he was deployed as left-back with Raphael Guerreiro, Marcel Schmelzer, Erik Durm and Toljan out injured and, apart from one wobble, he had another strong match.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 8 — After two performances to forget, Castro pulled out a very strong showing and had six key passes to his name.
MF Nuri Sahin, 6 — The defensive midfielder did not quite have the precision in his passing for his attempted Hollywood balls to come off.
MF Mahmoud Dahoud, 7 — After a mediocre first half, the former Gladbach player got stronger. In the 69th minute he showed nifty footwork to round a defender and his layoff was converted by Philipp.
FW Andrey Yarmolenko, 8 — He managed to excite in his home debut and was a handful for Cologne’s defence during his 66-minute shift. He picked up an assist with one cross and another ultimately led to a penalty.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 8 — It looked as though the Gabonese striker was not quite on song after early chances went astray. But a converted penalty in the 59th minute followed by a tidy finish 60 seconds later countered that impression.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 9 — It was not only his header that gave his side a lead early in the match, nor his dink over Horn for the fifth goal in the 69th minute that made a strong case for a Man of the Match performance by Philipp. He caused havoc with strong runs down the left side and was constantly on the move.
FW Christian Pulisic, 5 — Replaced Yarmolenko after 66 minutes but couldn’t quite chime in on Dortmund’s goal spree.
MF Julian Weigl, 5 — The defensive midfielder made his comeback from injury with 23 minutes left, replacing Nuri Sahin. For Weigl it was important to get some minutes under his belt.
FW Alexander Isak, NR — Got a five-minute run-out, coming on for Aubameyang. Nearly put his name on the score sheet but just missed from a tight angle.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.