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It’s time to consider Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among elite strikers

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

His name is never mentioned among the best strikers in the world. So far this season, he’s playing so well that it’s impossible to ignore him any longer.

In 2013, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed for Borussia Dortmund from French club Saint-Etienne for €13 million. One of the first things mentioned about him to the masses was that he had world-class speed. During his first pre-season with the five-time Bundesliga champions, Aubameyang ran 30 meters in 3.7 seconds. That’s almost 0.1 seconds faster than Usain Bolt in his record-breaking 100-meter dash in 2009. His first season yielded successful results as he scored 16 goals in 48 appearances but the next season is when the Gabon international became a star in Europe.

Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick’s best friend on the team, suffered an ankle injury which had him down most of the season. Auba, as his coaches, friends and teammates call him, was given more responsibility to become the main orchestrator and goal scorer of the team by Jurgen Klopp and did not disappoint. Even though Dortmund had a terrible start to the season, they eventually turned it around by finishing in seventh place. The 2012-13 Ligue 1 Best African Player led his side with goals, 16 in the league and 26 in all competitions, and assists. For his quality, the 26-year-old was named Borussia Dortmund Player of the Season. Many of England’s top clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham were linked with the two-time DFL-Supercup winner but eventually he signed an extension to stay with Die Schwarzgelben until 2020.

“I feel extremely comfortable at this club, playing with my teammates and residing in this city. Dortmund has become a second home for me. I am committed to the club with all my heart and never considered departing,” said Auba to the three-time DFB-Pokal Cup winners website in July.

Under the tutelage of new manager Thomas Tuchel, Borussia Dortmund have altered their tactics and came out to a flying start this campaign. The only loss they’ve had in the Bundesliga so far was in ‘Der Klassiker’ when Bayern Munich thrashed them 5-1. Prior to the game, the Bavarians manager held the 2012-13 Coupe de la Ligue winner in high regard.

“Aubameyang is incredibly dangerous. He has a lot of quality and is very fast. Our defence will have to remain alert all game. It is nearly impossible to keep him quiet when he gets some space,” said Pep Guardiola.

The only goal scored by Dortmund was when they counter-attacked with a long ball and Pierre-Emerick used to pace to beat Bayern’s defenders for a clear shot at goal.

Due to their seventh place finish in the league, Die Borussen had to qualify to enter the Europa League’s group stage. They accomplished that task and in their most recent game in the tournament defeated Azerbaijan-based club Gabala FK 3-1 with the AC Milan youth product scoring a hat trick.

“Auba paved the way for victory with the first and second goals. Then he added another in the second half to wrap up a certain victory for us. He could have perhaps scored a fourth or a fifth goal and the way he conducts himself on the pitch is absolutely exemplary. We can only hope that all of the others follow his lead,” said Tuchel following the match.

On Sunday, Aubameyang added another hat trick when his club defeated FC Augsburg 5-1 at home. Now he is tied for first with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski amongst Europe’s top five leagues, Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A, in goals with 13 and has 20 in all competitions. Auba is no longer considered just a player known for having an incredible amount of speed as he’s proven to be a clinical finisher, good distributor of the ball and solid at holding up the ball despite his frame. He’s earned his place to be considered one of the best forwards in the world.

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