Istanbul: With three wins in three Champions League games and a better goal difference than any other team in the competition, Borussia Dortmund are enjoying a perfect start in Europe despite their domestic slump.
The Germans crushed hosts Galatasaray 4-0 in Istanbul on Wednesday to take complete control of Group D with a maximum nine points and their best-ever start in the competition with nine goals scored and none conceded so far.
The 1997 European champions and 2013 finalists seem to relish the big stage this season as they are almost certain of a spot in the knockout stage with second-placed Arsenal three points behind and Anderlecht in third on one.
Their Bundesliga run, however, is a completely different story with coach Juergen Klopp`s team, champions in 2011 and 2012, languishing in 14th spot on seven points from eight games after losing five of those matches.
"We are a long way away from perfection despite the unusual 4-0 away win in a Champions League game," said Klopp. "But today we were allowed to play as we can play, we used the spaces well."
Dortmund enjoyed a whirlwind start with the team scoring twice in the opening 18 minutes with an efficiency in attack that has been lacking from their game back home.
"We were more effective up front but I still don`t think that it was that easy. We scored the goals at the right time but had to be careful over 90 minutes," said Klopp.
With the first aim of the season -- advancing to the knockout stage -- within grabbing distance, Dortmund can now turn their focus a bit more on the league to make up for lost ground.
"We will not give away spaces any more, that is our plan from now on," Klopp said. "It cannot and should not happen that we let in easy goals as we have been doing (in the Bundesliga)."
With Hanover 96 awaiting on Saturday, Dortmund are fully aware they need to bring some of their European sparkle to Germany as their injury concerns slowly abate.
Playmaker Ilkay Guendogan looks to be improving by the day after a 17-month injury absence while Marco Reus, also back from injury, was on target in Istanbul for Dortmund`s third goal.
"It was an important step today but Saturday we need to take one more," said Dortmund captain Mats Hummels.
"We now want to show that we can juggle all the competitions successfully and want to play a good game. All this (against Galatasaray) will mean nothing if we cannot beat Hanover."