Dortmund kicked off their return to the Bundesliga with a devastating 5-0 trouncing away to Werder Bremen. But the win left them still 12 points behind runaway leaders Bayern.
Dortmund began their tricky away match against 12th-placed Werder Bremen a full 15 points behind Bayern Munich, and six behind Leverkusen. Not that that seemed to bother them much, and they immediately imposed themselves on their hosts in what turned into a devastating 5-0 win.
Despite a lively start for Bremen - an early shot from Eljero Elia stinging Roman Weidenfeller's hands - Dortmund took the lead in the ninth minute. Robert Lewandowski won a questionable free-kick in a perfect central spot in front of the Bremen area, and Marco Reus despatched the dead ball magnificently into the left corner.
The champions made it two inside 20 minutes with a trademark counter-attack that caught Werder's defender Gebre Selassie out of position. The ball eventually found its way to Mario Götze outside the penalty area, and the baby-faced assassin hit a quick shot that deflected off Gebre Selassie's desperately outstretched boot. The cruel deflection left Sebastian Mielitz with no chance in the Bremen goal.
Prodigal son returns
Whatever half-time team talk Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf had delivered to get his team back into it, it was undone just three minutes into the second period, when Dortmund defender Felipe Santana - playing with a face mask after suffering a broken nose in a test game - headed in from a corner.
Just as it looked like Dortmund would be winding down and settling for three - substituting Götze for the defensive Sven Bender - Ilkay Gündogan fought his way into the Werder penalty area in the 81st minute, passed it out to Lukasz Piszczek, who crossed it in for his Polish compatriot Lewandowski to tap the ball home.
Then the much-anticipated return of Nuri Sahin to the Bundesliga - after his unhappy sojourns at Real Madrid and Liverpool - was crowned with a fifth. A brilliant ball set Piszczek free, who passed it across to Kuba Blaszczykowski. Thomas Schaaf, the Bremen coach who had been merely seething on the bench, erupted once more as he saw his side allow a defeat turn to humiliation.