Borussia Dortmund secured an almost perfect start to their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign on Sunday evening; seeing off a resilient RB Leipzig 4-1 at the Signal Iduna Park.
Less than a minute was on the clock before last season's fourth-place finishers found themselves behind as Jean-Kevin Augustin latched onto a loose ball before beating Roman Burki from inside the area.
However, a first half fightback, in which Mahmoud Dahoud netted his first senior goal for the club, alongside Marcel Sabitzer's own goal and an Axel Witsel overhead kick - alongside Marco Reus' second half stoppage time finish - proved too much for the visitors from Saxony.
Key Talking Point
As Augustin slotted past Burki with only 30 seconds on the clock, it looked as though Borussia Dortmund's defensive frailties from last season were to be their downfall once again.
What came next was an onslaught from Leipzig; around 20 minutes where BVB rarely left their half and each attempted pass or clearance found only those in white.
However, despite Rasenballsport's control, Dortmund's defiance eventually prevailed, but it was their ruthlessness which proved most significant.
It was almost commonplace last season for the Champions League hopefuls to take their foot off the gas when finding themselves in the ascendency. But this year, in the opening Bundesliga minutes, anyway, a different philosophy seems apparent.
A three-minute spell - one that has not been witnessed enough since the days of Jurgen Klopp - saw BVB take the game away from Leipzig, with two quick-fire goals via the unfortunate Sabitzer and Witsel effectively sealing the three points.
Although the Bundesliga campaign is still only 90 minutes old, Lucien Favre's robust and defiant mentality from his days at Borussia Monchengladbach is already seemingly filtering through to his new squad.
An excellent performance by Dortmund. Fun to watch.— Rick (@Rick_1892) August 26, 2018
And should Dortmund be able to continue in a similar vein, particularly against Germany's other top sides, Bayern Munich and company may well be looking over their shoulder more so than previous years as the campaign transpires.
Starting XI: Roman Burki (7); Lukasz Piszczek (6), Manuel Akanji (5), Abdou Diallo (6), Marcel Schmelzer (6); Mahmoud Dahoud (7), Axel Witsel (7), Thomas Delaney (6); Christian Pulisic (8), Maximilian Philipp (6), Marco Reus (7)
Substitutes: Marius Wolf (6), Jadon Sancho (7), Raphael Guerreiro (N/A)
Although the American failed to find his name on the scoresheet, Pulisic's overall game edged him ahead of team-mates Reus, Dahoud and Witsel - all of whom impressed.
The 19-year-old had opposite man Marcelo Saracchi's number throughout the majority of the contest, with his quick feet and foul-attractive style very Eden Hazard-esque.
Christian Pulisic was (officially) fouled six times in the first half today vs RB Leipzig.— Paul-tergeist Carr (@PaulCarr) August 26, 2018
That's already the most he's been fouled in any of his 71 career Bundesliga games.
He had a slightly quieter second half than some; however, still played an integral role in maintaining Dortmund's lead to see out the win.
A relatively solid afternoon for the hosts; however, defensively, they still look suspect. The partnership between Manuel Akanji and Abdou Diallo is not one which will fill Favre with confidence.
However, Akanji's recklessness in parts - particularly regarding late challenges - provided an unnecessary headache for the coach.
Starting XI: Peter Gulacsi (6); Lukas Klostermann (6), Ibrahima Konaten (5), Dayot Upamecano (5), Marcelo Saracch (7)i; Diego Demme (6), Kevin Kampl (8), Marcel Sabitzer (4), Emil Forsberg (6); Yussuf Poulsen (6), Jean-Kevin Augustin (7)
Substitutes: Timo Werner (6), Matheus Cunha (6, Bruma (N/A)
Despite the scoreline, several RB Leipzig players did themselves proud during their seventh competitive match of the campaign, with the likes of Augustin, Forsberg and Saracchi promising - despite the latter's discipline issues.
However, it was the former Dortmund man, Kampl who shone brightest for Rasenballsport, with the Slovenia international's passing slick and effective in addition to his high press and creativity. Overall, he did not deserve to be on the losing side today.
Marcel Sabitzer certainly had an opening day to forget at Dortmund. Despite the obvious blunder - although extremely unfortunate - the Austrian offered very little in any aspect on Sunday evening.
It came as no real surprise when Ralf Rangnick hooked the 24-year-old at half time, scoreline and the introduction of Timo Werner aside, with the creator leaving much to be desired compared to his usual high standards.
Three points against a fellow big side in the Bundesliga will give Dortmund great confidence with the new season ahead.
The aforementioned ruthlessness will be a significant addition to their game if they can maintain such mental strength over the coming months - although defensively, much work is still to be done.
Nevertheless, despite the noticeable downturn in performance during the second half, BVB got the job done - and offered Favre plenty to build on for the forthcoming campaign.