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Christian Pulisic’s goal against Hoffenheim was my best Christmas gift

A medium-depth analysis

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Now granted, come Christmas Day the only thing under tree for me was a four-pack of 72% merino wool blend socks. That means this goal didn’t have a lot to compete with. But even if there’d been a new boat in the driveway with a ribbon sitting on the propeller, I dare say Christian Pulisic’s game-winning goal against Hoffenheim would’ve still put up a fight for best Christmas gift this year.

Why that’s the case warrants a more in-depth analysis.

To set the scene (in case you forgot), Dortmund are tied 1-1 with Hoffenheim after an Aubameyang penalty in the 63rd minute. Time is winding down, and it looks like it will probably end in a draw. Then, in the 88th minute, something incredible happens.

It all starts with Mahmoud Dahoud NOT making a back pass but rather looking to be more attack-minded. This is one reason Dahoud needs to get more playing time. Dortmund has enough passive players, enough players content to make back passes. Dahoud is running away from the Hoffenheim goal but then turns 90 degrees left and finds Shinji Kagawa.

Next, Kagawa hits a good ball, but let's be honest, it should've been cleared. Steven Zuber, of the Hoffenheim back line, gets a foot on it but is sort of stumbling backward and doesn't get enough of it.

Then comes the touch. The beautiful touch with the right foot that says to the goalkeeper: "What is it like to be human? I can only tell you what it's like to be divine." The ball seems to hang in mid-air for a moment as Pulisic dances around the keeper. In this moment, when the ball is hanging in mid-air, whole lifetimes are lived out. A woman becomes pregnant after years of infertility. A soldier returns to his family after years overseas. Civilizations collapse and are rebuilt again. Wars are fought. Stars implode. The universe expands, contracts, and then expands again.

And after all of this has happened, a left foot rises from the ground to meet the ball, and tap it into the net.

Game over.

Dortmund wins.

Merry Christmas.