New coach Tuchel inspires Borussia Dortmund to 11th straight win
Dortmund continue excellent start under Tuchel with 11th straight win
REPORTING FROM DORTMUND
B DORTMUND 3
(Jonas Hofmann 19, Shinji Kagawa 58, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 74-pen)
B LEVERKUSEN 0
It was a dreary afternoon in Dortmund, but the Signal Iduna Park was heaving with passionate fans.
There was a definite buzz at the stadium, packed by some 81,359 supporters, most of them cloaked in the club's colours of yellow and black.
Borussia Dortmund may have one of the largest stadiums in Europe, but they haven't got a problem filling it - their average attendance of more than 80,000 is the highest in the world.
As the players lined up to face Bayer Leverkusen yesterday morning (Singapore time), the crowd were in one voice.
Who says there's no life after Juergen Klopp?
Klopp was the maverick coach who sparked a Dortmund resurgence, and relit the dreams and hopes of about 580,000 in the city when he joined in 2008.
With a brand of refreshing, attacking football and a team of young, relative unknowns, he turned Dortmund into one of the world's most feared teams, and in the process inspired thousands of young coaches around the globe.
Against all odds, he led Die Borussen to two Bundesliga titles (2010/11 and 2011/12) in a competition often overshadowed by Bayern Munich's might.
Two years ago, he took them to the brink of European supremacy, only to lose to Bayern in the final at Wembley.
Klopp, more than anyone else, embodied everything about the club: Vitality, panache and industry.
When he left the club at the end of last season, the world foresaw an inevitable decline.
The world may have got it wrong.
Rather than sliding down a gentle slope, Dortmund appear to be heading straight into another dawn.
Thomas Tuchel couldn't have dreamt of a better start to life in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Like Klopp, he made his name at tiny Mainz, where he also got them to punch well above their weight.
A win over Bayer Leverkusen, who made it to this season's Champions League, would stretch Dortmund's 100 per cent record in the Bundesliga to five games, and take them back above Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
They obliged - emphatically.
With the 3-0 victory, they extended their club's winning run to a record 11 games (in all competitions).
Jonas Hofmann opened the scoring in the 19th minute after he was picked out by Shinji Kagawa with a peach of a pass.
The Japan international, easily Dortmund's best player on the night, widened the gap after the break with a shot into the bottom corner.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed the result with a successful spot-kick.
The scoreline could have turned even uglier for the visitors, if not for their goalkeeper and the woodwork.
POETRY IN MOTION
With Mats Hummels helming the defence, Ilkay Guendogan patrolling the midfield, and Kagawa, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang causing havoc in the final third of the pitch, Dortmund were sheer poetry in motion.
At the final whistle, Signal Iduna Park erupted with a huge roar of approval.
The focus almost immediately switched to the legendary all-standing south stand, or the "Gelbe Wand" (Yellow Wall) where, for 90 minutes, 25,000 Dortmund die-hards had sung, hopped and throbbed as one in a sea of scarves and flags.
With renewed vigour, they began to serenade.
The captive audience? The Dortmund players, all seated on the turf in a single file along the edge of the penalty box.
This unique post-match ritual bonds fans, players and club in a symbolic gesture.
Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who used to play for Bayern Munich, was once asked who he was more scared of: The players or the coach (Klopp)?
"It is the Yellow Wall that scares me the most," he said.
The fear has spread.
After five games, Tuchel's side have 15 points, scored 18 goals and conceded only three.
From the looks of it, Dortmund have jumped off a rainbow and hopped right onto another one.
- This trip is sponsored by Turkish Airlines, the official airline partner of Borussia Dortmund.
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now