Three things we learned as Jadon Sancho returned to inspire Borussia Dortmund to three points over Darmstadt

Borussia Dortmund overcame a well drilled Darmstadt side 3-0 on Saturday evening to claim their first Bundesliga victory since the end of November. However, it would be Darmstadt to dominate the early proceedings, making Julian Brandt’s opener half way through the first half a bitter pill to swallow for the hosts. After a mesmerising run from Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, the Englishman placed a perfect pass into the run of Brandt, whose shot agonisingly trickled past Marcel Schuhen in the Darmstadt goal, to see Dortmund take a 1-0 lead into the break.

As the sides returned from the interval, the rhythm of the game remained largely the same. With Darmstadt looking to find an equaliser, it would be Gregor Kobel to deny them on a number of occasions. Then, as Dortmund’s attacking edge started to fade, the returning Jadon Sancho combined with Marco Reus to roll back the years, giving Dortmund a 2-0 lead, before Youssoufa Moukoko added a third. Defeat will hurt Torsten Lieberknecht, who will feel as though his side deserved better, but as for Dortmund, they are now just three points behind RB Leipzig as they hunt down the Champions League places.

An important month for Edin Terzić

It has undoubtedly been a difficult period for Borussia Dortmund and Edin Terzić. Despite performing admirably in the Champions League, Die Schwarzgelben have been far off the pace in the Bundesliga, slumping to fifth place, a whole five points behind RB Leipzig in fourth.

However, as BvB travelled to Darmstadt, they would have known how important ending the Hinrunde on a positive note would be, as they began a three-week period that will see them face four of the league’s bottom five. Thankfully for the Black and Yellow’s, while it may have been against the run of play, they would get off to the perfect start with Julian Brandt opening the scoring.

Nevertheless, killing games off has not been Dortmund’s strong point this season, and as Darmstadt started to threaten, Terzić’s side looked to fold once again. But a moment of magic from Jadon Sancho ensured that they found a killer second goal before Youssoufa Moukoko wrapped up the tie with a third. It is something that will give Die Schwarzgelben a significant amount of confidence as they head into the Rückrunde looking to find a route back into the top four.

A long Rückrunde awaits Darmstadt

Coming into matchday 17 bottom of the Bundesliga table and having just picked up three points since the beginning of October, it would have been fair to see that Darmstadt were looking forward to seeing the back of the Hinrunde. With Dortmund visiting the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor, the hosts would have been hoping to take advantage of BvB’s poor league form.

Nevertheless, while they would pose a threat to Gregor Kobel’s goal, their lack of creativity would come back to haunt them. With the highest average shot distance in the Bundesliga this season, it is little surprise that they also have the lowest expected goals in Germany’s top flight—something that was reflected over the course of ninety minutes.

Creating dangerous chances inside the final third was the main issue once again for Darmstadt, who saw six of their eleven efforts on goal come from outside the box. While there will undoubtedly be a lot of positives for Torsten Lieberknecht to take away from the game, there will be a sense of frustration that they failed to earn at least a point with the chances they created, something that will need to be addressed if they are to fight for survival.

Dortmund now have two English superstars

The return of Jadon Sancho has taken German and European football by storm. After lighting up the Bundesliga during his first stint at the Westfalenstadion, there were undoubtedly high expectations for the 23-year-old to hit the ground running, despite having not received regular game time for a significant period of time.

Regardless, after coming off the bench, Sancho provided energy and excitement with two successful dribbles and an assist for Marco Reus. However, as for who he replaced, the performance of Jamie Bynoe-Gittens cannot be ignored. 

Having become one of Dortmund’s most important players prior to the winter break, the 19-year-old resumed normal service with three successful dribbles and remarkable assists of his own that saw Dortmund take the lead. If Sancho is to become a regular for Edin Terzić’s side, then he cannot take the place of Bynoe-Gittens. If Dortmund can find a way for both to start, then they could be the real deal in the second half of the season.

GGFN | Will Shopland

Get Football+

More European Football News