Following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund ran out 3-2 winners in the Friday evening Bundesliga clash away to Cologne. Michy Batshuayi scored twice on his debut as Peter Stoger’s men made the perfect start to life without their departed Gabon star.
Stoger said how Batshuayi’s desire to have regular game time in order to secure his place in Belgium’s World Cup squad was good news for his Dortmund side.
Having scored just twice for Chelsea this season in the Premier League and only starting 12 league games, the 24 year-old is looking to re-discover his form in Germany.
Stepping in to fill the vacancy of Aubameyang appears to be a daunting task for someone who has not played regularly this season, given how talismanic the new Arsenal forward was for The Black and Yellows.
Yet the Belgian, on loan from West London for the remainder of the season, started his Bundesliga life with an instant impact.
Having already had one effort blocked, Batshuayi opened the scoring on Friday night with an easy finish after good work from Jeremy Toljan when pulling the ball back across goal.
Without VAR, the Belgian may have had another goal before half-time when he was ruled to be offside after getting on the end of Toljan’s strike.
Two minutes after Simon Zoller equalised for Cologne, Batshuayi was on target again as Dortmund regained the lead. He was set through by Christian Pulisic, and showed composure to slot the ball underneath the legs of Timo Horn and into the net.
If this contribution was not enough, Batshuayi also assisted Andre Schurrle’s winner after Cologne had initially drawn level for a second time.
— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) 2 February 2018
The performance will give the on-loan striker plenty of confidence heading into the remainder of the season. German newspapers were quick to suggest Dortmund were unaffected by the absence of Aubameyang with the tabloid, Bild’s, headline stating: ‘‘Auba who? Double for Batshuayi’’.
Such exuberance may be somewhat premature. After all, Dortmund were playing a Cologne side with just three wins this season, firmly rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table. Batshuayi himself would probably have selected Cologne as his ideal opposition to make his German league debut against.
However, this should not detract from the fact that he is hungry to succeed in the Bundesliga. Having been understudy to first Diego Costa, and then Alvaro Morata at Chelsea, Batshuayi will benefit from a regular run of games.
So far, his time at Stamford Bridge has been bit-part, with the Belgian looking particularly rusty when selected to start against Norwich City in the FA Cup third round.
With Olivier Giroud now signed at Chelsea, the move to Dortmund was an ideal one for Batshuayi, and he will be determined to remind both Antonio Conte and Roberto Martinez of his talent.
Five goals in 11 games for Belgium is not a bad return, but like his time at Chelsea, he has been unable to showcase his consistency over a long period of games.
Now for the first time since his early days at Standard Liege and Marseille, he has the opportunity to deliver in the Bundesliga. He will certainly get plenty of chances with the likes of Pulisic, Schurrle and Shinji Kagawa creating openings for him. What’s more, he is up and running very early, which is vital for a forward at any new club.