Is Aubameyang a better Borussia Dortmund striker than Lewandowski? | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.03.2016
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Is Aubameyang a better Borussia Dortmund striker than Lewandowski?

Aubameyang is now just one goal off Lewandowski's best record at Dortmund, following two goals against Tottenham on Thursday night. DW's Stefan Bienkowski wonders whether he has now surpassed his predecessor.

On Thursday night Borussia Dortmund took part in a largely academic exercise when they traveled to White Hart Lane in north London to play out the second leg of their last 16 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.

Following a comprehensive 3-0 win at the Westfalenstadion a week prior and the English side's reluctance to prioritize the Europa League over their own title ambitions, Thomas Tuchel's side showed up on the night knowing that there was very little left to do. Yet the former German champions took no chances by fielding a largely full-strength side - lacking just captain Mats Hummels and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan - to ensure qualification to the last eight with a 2-1 win.

While the history books may note little from the match, a particular moment of magic will live long in the memory of the visiting fans. In the 24th minute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picked up the ball with time and space to spare and fired a shot past Hugo Lloris from 22 meters out. Around 50 minutes later he made it two with a crisp, close-range finish.

While the first was a fine goal in its own right, the long-ranged effort and the tidy finish in the second half represented the 34th and 35th of their kind in 41 games for the Gabon striker this season - a tally that will see him surpass his predecessor, Robert Lewandowski, if he can score just two more goals between now and the end of the season.

Is Aubameyang better than Lewandowski during his time at Dortmund?

At first the thought seems preposterous. Now leading the line at Bayern Munich, Lewandowski has become what many consider to be the best No.9 in European football - and he wasn't far off it when he made the move to Bavaria in the summer of 2014.

Despite Aubameyang's goals this season, many would still choose the Polish international if they could pick between the two. Yet when we look at the goals both have scored in the Dortmund colors it becomes far less clear cut.

In 187 games for Dortmund, Lewandowski scored 103 goals and offered 43 assists, meaning he netted in every other game and either scored or set up a goal in three out of four games. In his first season he scored nine, in the next he jumped up to 30, then the high of 36 in one season before scoring 28 in his final campaign for the club.

Like Lewandowski, who had to wait until Lucas Barrios' injury before he got his shot, Aubameyang spent his first season playing as a winger under Klopp but still picked up 16 goals in all competitions. A year later, Klopp moved the Gabon striker up front and there he excelled, picking up 25 goals in 46 games. The following year, despite a horrendous campaign from the team, Aubameyang still bagged 33.

What stands in Aubameyang's favor is that despite playing for the club during a period that was undoubtedly far less prosperous than the title-winning side that Lewandowski led, the current Dortmund striker has a goal tally that already matches the Polish forward's record.

In fact, both players have an identical record of 0.55 goals every game at Dortmund, yet Aubameyang reached such a feat a whole season before Lewandowski, while also spending large chunks of his time on the pitch as a winger.

Although Lewandowski was an outstanding creator of goals by combining with his teammates, the Polish striker never had chemistry with others in Klopp's squad quite like the one we've seen between Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this season under Thomas Tuchel's guidance.

Still tests to come for PAE?

There are, of course, hurdles that Aubameyang has to overcome if he hopes to eclipse Lewandowski's time at Dortmund.

The Gabon striker hasn't had anywhere near the same game time in the Champions League as Lewandowski. The European competition was one which the Polish striker relished, with performances such as his four goals against Real Madrid in the semifinals, and will always be a tournament that defined his time at the club.

Similarly, Dortmund won trophies with the Polish striker. Of course, that's not something that can be specifically leveled at Aubameyang. However, if he hopes to be considered among the best, he'll have to not only prove it in the Champions League but also by dragging Dortmund to title challenges alongside the Bavarian giants.

Is Aubameyang better than Lewandowski? Right now it's neck and neck between two fantastic talents but with time on his side there's no reason to suggest he can't one day be.

Do you agree with Stefan's piece? Who was the better centre-forward in their Dortmund career? Let us know below in the comments section.

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