Always a force to be reckoned with, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has reached new heights in the opening months of this season. Under Thomas Tuchel, he has developed into Borussia Dortmund's undisputed first choice striker, and has rewarded the new manager's faith with goals in abundance.
With 13 Bundesliga goals already this season, only Robert Lewandowski has kept him from being the Bundesliga's out and out top scorer. But Aubameyang is still very much the cream of the crop.
October began surprisingly darkly for the 26-year-old. With the month just four days old, Dortmund suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of FC Bayern München. For Aubameyang, there was small consolation in the fact that, having scored his team's equaliser in the first half, he became the first player in league history to score in every single one of the opening eight games of a Bundesliga season.
The defeat seemed to reinvigorate Dortmund, not least their Gabonese frontman. On Matchday 9, Aubameyang illustrated how invaluable he has become not only as a gifted goalscorer but also as a selfless team player.
Having scored in the final two matches of last season as well, he would have overtaken Klaus Allofs' longstanding Bundesliga record of having scored in 10 consecutive games across two seasons had he found the net at 1. FSV Mainz 05. Aubameyang was far more concerned with helping his team to victory than grabbing personal glory, however, setting up both goals in Dortmund's 2-0 win.
“I love his ability to concentrate on what is necessary and to put his ego in the back seat,” said Tuchel after the game.
Just days later, Aubameyang would get another ego boost. In Dortmund's Europa League clash with FC Qäbälä, the Gabonese smashed in three goals to net only his second hat trick in a Dortmund shirt. He wouldn't have to wait very long for the third, either. As Dortmund crushed FC Augsburg 5-1 on Matchday 10, it was Aubameyang once again who was at the heart of the action, knocking in another three goals to complete a second hat trick in four days.
“I bet my brother that I would score another one,” he grinned after the final whistle.
With Bayern's lead now stretched to seven points, it was crucial that Dortmund kept winning in October. That need became all the more acute when the league leader's dropped their first points of the season, stumbling to a 0-0 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt at the beginning of Matchday 11.
Bayern's draw gave Dortmund the chance to reduce the gap at the top of the table to just five points. They took it with aplomb, beating SV Werder Bremen 3-0. It wasn't the happiest of days for Aubameyang, who missed several gilt-edged opportunities to add to his already impressive tally of goals this season.
What the performance against Bremen did show, however, is how lethal the Gabonese' partnership with his good friend Marco Reus is proving to be. Reus scored twice to clinch the three points for Dortmund. With their shared qualities of lightning pace and exquisite technical ability, Aubameyang and Reus are a force to be reckoned with this season.
Matchday 11 may have belonged to Reus, but October certainly belonged to Aubameyang. With two assists and seven goals in all competitions, including two hat tricks in the space of four days, the Gabonese continued his mouth watering form. As if his goals weren't enough, Aubameyang's October was also a wonderful exhibition of the striker's selflessness, team ethic and ever improving tactical intelligence.
If Dortmund are to mount a serious title challenge to Bayern this year, it will be with the lightning fast superstar marching ahead of them.