Jude Bellingham donned the Borussia Dortmund captain's armband for the first time on Saturday but couldn't prevent his team losing to Cologne. Head coach Edin Terzic had strong words for his players ahead of a big week.
In the absence of injured club captain Marco Reus and sick vice-captain Mats Hummels, the armband passed to the English teenager, officially third in the BVB captaincy pecking order.
"Is he the youngest captain in the history of Borussia Dortmund?" asked Terzic himself in a pre-match interview. "We don't know. But he's definitely old enough."
Bellingham: 'A dream come true'
The 19-year-old's talents in dribbling, passing, composure and defensive discipline have been clear for some time and his ability to turn defensive situations into offensive ones have often helped Dortmund out of tricky situations.
On Saturday afternoon, a typical drive forward opened up space behind the Colognedefense, before an inch-perfect pass in to Julian Brandt allowed the German international open the scoring.
Bellingham's double fist-pump and yell of delight as he ran back towards to the center circle after celebrating with his teammates showed how much it meant. A couple of hours later, however, his mood was very different.
After Cologne had produced an impressive second-half comeback to win 3-2, Bellingham led his teammates over to the traveling supporters, arms raised, palms facing outwards, an expression of acceptance of responsibility.
"When I first signed for this club, I never thought it would be possible," he then told the Bundesliga's official channel pitch-side. "But then I met the players, and they gave me the belief that one day I could be captain."
But as he trudged down the tunnel, his disappointment and anger at the result and performance became clear as he ignored waiting journalists and hurled his coat onto the floor en route back to the dressing room, where he would speak to Terzic again.
Terzic: 'Brutal, annoying, bitter'
What exactly the head coach told his players will remain between those four walls, but the 39-year-old certainly cut a consternated figure as he spoke to reporters.
"For 15-20 minutes after half-time, in an important and decisive phase of the game, we weren't prepared to invest all we had to defend our goal and win the ball back," he said.
"When there were an extra three or four steps to take to get into the challenge, we weren't prepared to do it. When you look at how we went into tackles at the start of the second half, it's no wonder we ended up losing.
"And that annoys us. We're annoyed that we once again have to ask these questions of ourselves. We're annoyed as a coaching team that we can't show 20 examples of good possession play tomorrow, but once again have to discuss the same topics."
"It's brutal, it's annoying, it's bitter," he concluded — for Bellingham as well, whose debut as captain ended in defeat, but whose reputation continues to grow.
"[Being captain] is something that other people have always mentioned to me, and I've always brushed it off," he said. "But, I'm really grateful to have been given the chance today. "Still, I'm ultimately disappointed that we've lost."