Borussia Dortmund destroyed Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, taking a clear stride towards Champions League football in the process. It was a great team performance but one man stood out, a teenage English star.
Having missed a very takeable chance early on, it says a lot about the mental strength of Jadon Sancho that, only a minute later, he was wheeling away in celebration having scored his first professional goal.
After spurning a one-on-one, the 18-year-old then applied the right finish to a very similar opportunity without a second thought. It was the start of a game for Sancho that truly signalled his arrival to the Borussia Dortmund faithful.
Sancho danced and deceived his way past Leverkusen all game as Dortmund won 4-0 to tighten their grip on third. The teenager was a breath of fresh air for a squad plagued by a host of troubles. Mario Götze looked clearer of mind, Marco Reus was bright and bagged a brace despite missing a penalty and Manuel Akanji gave an excellent account of himself at left back.
Sancho was having fun, and others wanted to join in. It was the fast-paced, attacking football that Dortmund have been missing in recent weeks, and the kind they became famous for in recent years.
"Age is just a number, really," Sancho told DW in March. The 18-year-old has shown his tender years at times - some reports suggest his focus isn't always where it should be - but the teenager can be forgiven for probably just wanting to act his age. Against Leverkusen though, the former Manchester City man played well beyond his years.
In the second half, Sancho continued to leave the visitors as white as their kit. After Götze failed to score from Sancho's pass, Maximillian Philipp gobbled up another chance laid on by the young Englishman. Sancho's control before passing to Philipp was sensational. It has been years since a young English talent displayed such flair and panache on the football field.
Mid-stride, Sancho controlled a long, dropping ball on the outside of his boot, before playing a perfectly-timed pass for Philipp to tuck away BVB's third of the afternoon. It was exquisite, but he wasn't finished. There was time to dance into the box and hang up a perfect cross for Reus to score a header. The final score was 4-0. Sancho had scored one, and set up two.
Read more: Who is Jadon Sancho?
Last weekend, Manchester City won the Premier League title. In another life, Sancho might have been one of those medal winners. Instead, the teenager was scoring his first professional goal in front of the famous Yellow Wall. For all the turmoil Borussia Dortmund has been through this season, they remain one of the best places for young players to develop. That alone makes Sancho's decision look very much like the right one. And after today's performance, both he and BVB can be very excited about that.