With Borussia Dortmund having sold their self-styled “Batman” Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang, his replacement Michy Batshuayi, another aspiring “Caped Crusader”, answered their call for goals on his debut. “I heard the Batman job was vacant at Borussia Dortmund so I decided to take over,” Batshuayi, who already liked to call himself “Batsman”, wrote on Instagram after signing a loan deal until the end of the season from Chelsea on Wednesday.
Before leaving for Arsenal, Aubameyang sometimes celebrated scoring for Dortmund by donning masks — once pulling on a Batman hood in a Bundesliga game. With one Batman gone, Dortmund turned to Batshuayi who responded on Friday night. The 24-year-old scored twice on his debut in a 3-2 Bundesliga victory at bottom side Cologne.
The Belgian could have finished with a hat-trick after having a goal ruled offside before the break. After showing clinical finishing for his goals, Batshuayi then turned provider. With time running out and the score locked at 2-2, Batshuayi set up the winning goal and his pass was smashed home by Germany winger Andre Schuerrle.
The win lifted Dortmund to second in the Bundesliga ahead of the other weekend games.
“Yes, I am very happy, but the most important thing is the victory,” he said after barely two days at the club. “We want to go up as far as possible in the table and, of course, qualify for Champions League.”
After a turbulent few weeks, overshadowed by Aubameyang’s departure to Arsenal, head coach Peter Stoeger is pleased with his latest recruit.
“He’s a good boy,” the Austrian said of Batshuayi.
“He brings a lot from what we need.
“His debut is what we had hoped for.
“This is what one dreams for after the weeks of discussion and the whole over-riding (Aubameyang) theme, where we have not focused much on sport.
“We got a striker who made a great debut.”
However, Batshuayi’s goals failed to disguise an erratic team performance as Dortmund’s rocky defence twice allowed struggling Cologne to equalise.
Dortmund dropped Aubameyang twice in January before selling him to Arsenal for £56 million ($79 million, 63 million euros), the Premier League club’s record transfer.
– Marriage of convenience –
Indiscretions like missing a team meeting, training poorly, missing a team meeting and arranging a video shoot on club premises without permission, tarnished his departure after five years at Dortmund.
Batshuayi is a direct goal-scoring replacement, but has also behaved poorly in the past, being kicked off Anderlecht and Belgium U21 teams in his youth.
Nevertheless, his goals on Friday sealed a marriage of convenience.
Dortmund needed a goal-scorer and after weeks on Chelsea’s bench, behind first-choice striker Alvaro Morata, Batshuayi has a starting berth and that will help his bid for a place in the Belgium squad at the World Cup.
Having also chased Olivier Giroud, before the Frenchman joined Chelsea from Arsenal, Dortmund are happy to have procured Batshuayi, albeit on loan.
“He’s a classic ‘nine’, we needed that,” said Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
“We had two in the raffle – Giroud and Batshuayi.
“It worked out with Batshuayi. He has that goal instinct and a great goal-scoring record.
“He had a lot of competition at Chelsea, so it was not easy to prevail there.”