Borussia Dortmund put last week’s embarrassing 2-0 defeat at Schalke behind them with a thoroughly satisfying 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Their win moves them one point behind Schalke in second and three points ahead of Leverkusen for third.
Going into today’s match, these two teams looked to be going in opposite directions. Dortmund were struggling to have any sense of consistency and hadn’t won a match against the top teams in the league, while Leverkusen were coming off two straight 4-1 wins and were gunning to move up the table. If I were a betting man, I’d have put money on Dortmund losing today.
I’m glad I was wrong.
It was the Jadon Sancho Show at the Westfalenstadion as he became the youngest Englishman to score in the Bundesliga at 18 years and 27 days old. His goal came in the 13th minute when Christian Pulisic took an ok pass from Mario Götze and drove around and down the right wing before laying off an inch-perfect pass to Sancho, and all he had to do was tuck it past Leverkusen back-up goalkeeper Ramazcan Özcan for the first goal of the day.
Sancho would record two more assists in the second half to power Dortmund to victory to give him obvious MOTM honors. In the 63rd minute, Sancho showed off his silky-smooth touch when he took a deep pass from Manuel Akanji (who played lights-out today) and gently dribbled the ball at full speed before laying off the ball for Maximillian Philipp. His third and final piece of brilliance came towards the end of the day when he received a pass from Mahmoud Dahoud and waited until unleashing a pinpoint accurate cross inside the Leverkusen box for Marco Reus, and the World Cup-winning winger headed it in opposite corner for the fourth goal.
I seriously love what Jadon Sancho brings to the field every time he plays. He’s got that swagger and young confidence that he can take on any defender and absolutely embarrass them. Why it wasn’t until today that Stöger gave him a full 90 over busted-ass Schürrle is beyond me, but hopefully Sancho sees more and more playing time as the season winds down.
-Reus would be my second choice for MOTM. Aside from the missed penalty in the 36th minute, he was incredible with two goals and excellent movement leading Dortmund’s attack. He definitely deserves to go to Russia if he can stay healthy.
-Pulisic is my third MOTM. For the first half, he looked as good as he did at the beginning of the season. His solo runs with the ball, one of which led to his assist to Sancho and another time earning Dortmund their penalty opportunity, were electric and got me out of my seat a number of times. Hopefully this is a sign that vintage Pulisic is back.
-The defense was particularly solid today, with Manuel Akanji my standout defender. He was everywhere today, playing as the leftback with Schmelzer rightfully watching today’s match from the stands. He was dropping dimes and breaking up attacks while playing out of position. What does it say about our leftback situation that an out-of-position player put up one of the best performances of the season?
-Weigl quietly had an outstanding game. He was breaking up a lot of Leverkusen attacks and even ventured forward a few times as the game got further and further out of hand. Just once I’d like to see him and Dahoud play together.
Werder Bremen is Dortmund’s next opponent. It would be nice to get a win to keep with Schalke and stave off teams like Leverkusen and Hoffenheim.