Borussia Dortmund will lose one of their best players from last season, but after just two league games the club is top of the Bundesliga table. There are many reasons why, but Nuri Sahin might be the most important.
In the last few weeks, Borussia Dortmund have once again been labeled a selling club. The end of Ousmane Dembele's transfer saga is in sight, but BVB will continue to face questions about their sporting future and adequate replacements. Selling players is part of the course, but keeping the right ones is a much-less talked about art.
In Nuri Sahin, Borussia Dortmund have done that. Granted, the 28-year-old once left for Real Madrid but returned soon after when he realized that he was, after all, one of the Dortmunder Jungs (Dortmund boys).
Initially, his return appeared more of a sentimental touch - a move by the heart rather than the head. Injuries plagued him and he couldn't seem to find his feet under previous head coach Thomas Tuchel.
Two games into the new season and the midfielder looks reborn. He has started all four games under Peter Bosz, and after impressing against Wolfsburg on opening day, Sahin scored a fantastic goal against Hertha Berlin on Matchday Two.
His strike was measured at 93 kilometers an hour, he was told after the game. "I think I read 104," he replied with a grin.
For BVB head coach Peter Bosz's sake, Sahin wasn't found enough. Against an opponent like Hertha Berlin, Bosz wanted the ball moved around faster - which means more Sahin.
Bosz was Feyenoord's technical director back when Sahin went on loan there as a youngster. Clearly the BVB midfielder is a different man now to the young boy he was back then, but there's obviously something about Bosz that is working for BVB players. And Sahin is one of them.
But while his return to form is important, it's also what a marauding Nuri Sahin in black and yellow means for the club, and for football.
Sahin understands what it is to be a Borussia Dortmund player, to wear the colors, to play in front of the impressive Yellow Wall. He connects with the community, he used to be one the ball boys and he appreciates the gift that it is to be a footballer in the modern age.
Recently he published on The Player's Tribune, admitting how the BVB fans saved him after the attack on their team bus and that the Yellow Wall is the "greatest sight in sports".
"I don't want to be the best or the most important, but I want to be part of the BVB family," Sahin told Sky after the game.
Best or not, Sahin will always be a part of the Schwarzgelb family, but given how sensational his form has been of late Dortmund can take heart from the fact that while they might have lost Dembele, they haven't lost the man who best embodies their heartbeat.