Something special is happening in Dortmund.
The new Bundesliga season got underway for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday afternoon, and they went home with three goals, three points and a whole lotta energy still in the tank.
Der BVB blew Borussia Monchengladbach away without really hitting top gear, instead choosing to manage their reserves, and destroy their visitors with lethal, blistering counter-attacks. It was a game plan that this particular set of starlets were destined to perform, and they executed it to the letter.
Goals from Giovanni Reyna and an Erling Haaland brace saw the title challengers waltz to victory, playing some mesmerising and intricate football along the way. Side by side with the two goalscorers, 20-year-old Jadon Sancho and teenager Jude Bellingham put on a show of their own, as this dynamic, free-flowing quartet took to the Bundesliga field for the first time.
It felt as if they had been tearing Germany apart in unison for years, though. An impossibility of course, but still, there was a cohesion that most forward lines could only dream of building over a number of campaigns and several untapped wavelengths.
What was just as impressive as the goals, the individual (and team) performances, and the overall result, were the statistics that accompanied this thrashing.
The combined age of the assister and scorer of the opening goal? 34. Well, 35 if you add up all the days and months, but…two 17-year-olds ripping apart a defence of fully-grown adult males, who have been playing this game since these kids were in nappies.
Bellingham also became the youngest ever player to register an assist in the Bundesliga at 17 years and 82 days, while 20-year-old Haaland continued to chip away at any goalscoring records that stand in his path.
In fact, Lucien Favre placed so much faith in his prestigious young talents, that all of the front four (Sancho, Reyna, Bellingham and Haaland) were all 20 years old or younger, possessing a combined age of 74.
It simply boggles the mind.
It’s also wonderful to see. After watching Bayern put eight past another emotionally-shattered opponent on Friday evening, the pressure was undoubtedly on Dortmund to rise to the occasion and throw down the gauntlet to the current champions.
And with the immortal words ‘You’ll never win anything with kids’ ringing in everyone’s ears, you’d have forgiven Favre for resorting to his more experienced and extremely talented attacking gems to try and unlock a decent Gladbach side.
The Swiss coach stuck to his guns though. His young guns. He clearly believes that the raw and edgy Bellingham is ready to cut his teeth in the professional game at the highest level, having only enjoyed one season in the Championship.
The ex-Birmingham City star got off to a flier, delicately caressing the ball into Reyna’s path, and his teammate swept home with equal measures of composure. It’s hard to fathom just how quickly the Englishman has adapted to life in Germany, and following in the footsteps of the flamboyant Sancho, he can only continue to grow.
Sancho himself was back to his devastating best, laying on a couple of assists for his colleagues, only one of which was eventually punished. He and Reyna dominated the wide areas, cutting inside and playing cheeky one-twos and FIFA Street style tricks through the defence.
It was football without fear. Football without consequences. And football with a smile.
Behind that smile, there must be a robotic killer instinct. Luckily for Dortmund, they’ve got Haaland. The big Norwegian forward bullied his opponents, ran them into the ground, and then, when they were at their weakest – pounced. A cool penalty and a brutal bludgeon beyond Yann Sommer wrapped up the game, and it was job done for the hosts.
It was just a wonderful 90 minutes of carefree fun. Haaland provided the sturdy Maypole for his dainty artists to dance around, pulling their opponents to ribbons. Interestingly, the Maypole dance is believed to have originated in Germany, and was performed as a ritual to improve fertility.
Well, we may well have borne witness to the birth of new German royalty. All hail the Kings of Dortmund.