A sweltering afternoon in Dortmund saw Hertha BSC come to defend, but Thomas Tuchel’s men did more than enough to break them down and will top the Bundesliga table going into the international break.
Mats Hummels, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adrian Ramos netted for the hosts, who were given a very little scare when Salomon Kalou’s consolation to make the score 2-1 threatened to provoke a comeback.
The new Dortmund manager lined up with what seems to be his first-choice eleven right now, with Matthias Ginter at right-back and the same midfield that has started each of the three Bundesliga games so far.
Meanwhile Hertha, with four points but without an encouraging performance from the first two matchdays, played five at the back and looked to frustrate die Schwarzgelben.
It worked to an extent, the best chance of the opening exchanges saw Genki Haraguchi race onto a long ball, only to allow Dortmund captain Mats Hummels enough time to catch up and clear the danger.
The deadlock was later broken by the Dortmund centre-half. Following a water break, Hertha finally came undone just short of the half hour mark. A short corner allowed Shinji Kagawa to stand a ball up at the back post, Hummels, shoddily marked, duly attacked it and had the net bulging.
Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft kept the score down to one as Henrikh Mkhitaryan struck a fierce effort but, shortly after the break, he couldn’t prevent Aubameyang from doubling Dortmund’s lead.
Hertha had made a change at the break, putting Mitchell Weiser on and shifting to a back four, but Thomas Tuchel’s change was more effective. The BVB head coach, famed for his in-game changes, shifted Aubameyang wider to accommodate Reus centrally. Something of a tilted diamond with Aubameyang playing from wide and Mkhitaryan joining in deeper, Dortmund controlled the tempo and looked far more creative.
Another lobbed Shinji Kagawa ball to the far post opened Hertha up for Aubameyang’s third Bundesliga goal in as many games, with Matthias Ginter squaring the ball nicely for the Gabonese.
In total control, but Dortmund couldn’t kill Hertha off. Marco Reus saw a finish creep wide after Mkhitaryan had found him in the middle, and Mkhitaryan rounded Kraft only to put the ball over the bar after Kagawa missed an open net just minutes earlier.
A nervy finish was set up by a bad piece of officiating. Roman Bürki, rarely called into action on Sunday afternoon, parried a low Vladimir Darida shot outwards to the feet of Salomon Kalou, who converted the first Bundesliga goal conceded by BVB this season. Kalou was at least a yard offside but, much to the bemusement of Dortmund fans, the flag stayed down.
The same couldn’t be said when late sub Adrian Ramos was through on goal, despite timing his run to perfection. It didn’t look like it would be his day. The Colombian, linked with a move away from the club, had a half-volley well saved by Kraft but did get his goal in the dying moments to seal the victory.
Fellow substitute Jonas Hofmann elected not to just keep the ball in the corner and a brilliant run fashioned the opening. Despite the poor pass that followed from Kagawa, Mkhitaryan deftly found Ramos, who coolly opened the angle before finishing. If the striker is to leave it’s a nice parting gift, should he stay it may do his confidence a world of good.
Dortmund are vibrant going forward and, embodied by the coolness of Mats Hummels and dominant presence of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, look solid at the back. The Greek defender was excellent on Sunday while his captain crucially opened the scoring.
Three games, three wins, 09 points. Thomas Tuchel is the first Borussia Dortmund head coach to win his first three league matches in charge of the club; his side are looking good and top the Bundesliga table heading into the first international break of the new season.