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When he was unveiled as a new FC Barcelona player, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shared his excitement about playing with his old friend Ousmane Dembélé once again. The two had already developed a lethal connection at Borussia Dortmund in 2016/17, and at Barça they have taken things a step further. It’s usually the Frenchman who does the build-up and the Gabonese striker is there to finish off the job.
From the Rhur to Barcelona
Dembélé has even gone so far as to say that Aubameyang is his best friend in football. And the ‘Mosquito' seems to have upped his game tremendously since the latter joined the team in January. His injury troubles seeming to finally be confined to the past, he has been providing assists left, right and centre.
The nine goals he’s set up this term are a personal record at Barça, already surpassing his eight in 2018/19. Seven of those have come in 2022 and in just five league games, two of them for Auba in 4-0 wins against Osasuna and Real Madrid.
Memories of Dortmund
At Borussia Dortmund in 2016/17, Auba scored a remarkable 39 goals and gave five assists, while Dembélé scored 10 goals and gave an amazing 19 assists.
The duo scored a goal each in the 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup Final, with a great sign, as that’s precisely the next team that Barça will be facing in the Europa League.
Dembélé supplied 12 assists to Aubameyang in their season together in Dortmund, ten of them in the Bundesliga. That’s the record for any pairing in the history of the German top flight!
That season, Borussia finished top of their Champions League group, ahead of Real Madrid. Aubameyang scored both at the Santiago Bernabéu and Signal Iduna Park, while it was in those two games, which both ended 2-2, that very much introduced Dembélé to the world stage with some dazzling performances.
This France-Gabon connection has played a huge role in Barça’s ascendancy towards a berth in the 2022/23 Champions League and what’s proving to be a fine run in the Europa League. In fact, Barça have yet to lose in games where these two have featured, seven wins and three draws in ten games.
When together, Aubameyang has scored nine goals and given one assist, and Dembélé has offered seven assists and one goal.
The 32-year-old African is getting off to a start comparable to those of signings like Ibrahimovic, Eto'o, Alexis and Larsson.
Meanwhile, the Frenchman’s seven assists are more than any player has managed in Europe’s five biggest leagues in 2022. He’s followed by his former colleague Leo Messi and Bourigeaud of Stade Rennais with six each.
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