Super Cup matches are usually glorified friendlies—unless your team wins, then they’re vastly important—but they can still tell us something about the upcoming soccer season. This is doubly true when two bitter rivals battle over a trophy no one cares about, and so I’m prepared to declare Jadon Sancho the best player in Germany after he single-handedly steam-rolled Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup.
The Borussia Dortmund wonderkid has been unstoppable since cementing his spot in the starting XI, finishing with 12 goals and 14 assists in the Bundesliga last season. What he did to Bayern on Saturday was just plain rude, though. During a 20-minute stretch in the second half of the Super Cup, Sancho pulverized the Bavarian giants with two perfect solo runs on the counter-attack, resulting in an assist and a goal that gave Dortmund a win over their hated domestic rivals.
The run for the assist was more impressive, and it came first, so let’s start there. Taking the ball just past midfield, Sancho drove straight at the back-pedaling Bayern defense, dribbling past the corpse of Jérôme Boateng, before being four defenders collapsed on him at the top of the box. No matter, as Sancho slipped a nutmeg pass through Corentin Tolisso’s legs that found goal-scoring machine Paco Alcácer, who coolly slotted a low shot past Manuel Neuer:
The second Sancho moment came about 21 minutes later: he received a pass in almost the same area as the first, with acres of space in front of him and both Alcácer and Marco Reus driving alongside with him. The presence of those two goal-scorers drove Bayern defender Niklas Süle away from Sancho; this was a mistake, because the 19-year-old Englishman kept it, blasted a shot through Neuer’s legs, and essentially sealed up the tie for Dortmund:
Again, a Super Cup is not usually a great game from which to extrapolate any lasting assessments, but Saturday’s match was played at an intensity befitting a Bundesliga showdown between the two best teams in Germany. Bayern will surely rue all of their missed chances in front of goal, while the Black and Yellows will be thankful that their superstar youngster played as well as he ever has to bring the trophy back to Dortmund for the first time since 2012, when they also beat Bayern.
Dortmund will be looking to Sancho to help them win the Bundesliga this season, something they came agonizingly close to doing last year before collapsing at the end. Die Borussen have loaded up in hopes of bringing the challenge to Bayern’s door, but it sure looks like they’re ready to focus on Sancho as their superstar, particularly now that the Christian Pulisic show has moved to London. Sancho is young, but he is for real, and everyone should get on board now before one of the big teams in England comes knocking for the most exciting English talent in the world.