‘Show the world’: Sancho eyes Wembley redemption with Dortmund

Jadon Sancho in action for Dortmund. File photo

Jadon Sancho is seeking redemption on home soil when he returns to England with Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s Champions League final clash with Real Madrid.

The showpiece will be Sancho’s latest chance to prove that his unhappy Manchester United spell was a result of the disfunction at the club, rather than a personal failing.

Sancho returned to Dortmund in January, the club where he made his name as a teenager, which earned him a big-money move to United in 2021.

The 24-year-old has impressed during his six-month loan, particularly in the Champions League, where he helped Dortmund reach the final for just the third time in their history.

That he can do so at the site of the 2021 Euros final loss to Italy, where Sancho was criticised for missing a penalty in the shootout, would only make it more sweeter for the winger, who this month was again left out of the England squad.

‘Show the world Jadon Sancho is back’ 

Sancho joined Dortmund aged just 17 from the Manchester City academy in 2017, a bold move from the teenager at a time when England players rarely left the island.

His move not only foreshadowed a trend of English talent heading abroad, he became a crucial attacking component in a freewheeling Dortmund side.

In four years at the Westfalenstadion, Sancho scored 50 goals and laid on 64 more in 137 games. He won the 2021 German Cup shortly before joining United for a fee of 85 million euros ($93 million).

At Old Trafford, Sancho scored just 12 times in 82 appearances. He fell out with manager Erik Ten Hag earlier this season and came back to Dortmund in January having not played football since September.

Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl, who was crucial in bringing Sancho back to the club, said the Englishman showed his resolve during the testing time.

“It was not an easy situation in January to bring Jadon to Dortmund,” Kehl said Tuesday.

“But we knew Jadon had the skills to perform, to be decisive and to bring us to another level.

“Jadon is such a great person, a great player, and the experience he had in Manchester helped him to perform now.

“He will be very important for us on Saturday. He will show the world that Jadon Sancho is really back.”

‘Extra motivation’ 

Only one of Sancho’s 23 England caps came after that Wembley final loss to Italy — the same summer as he moved to United.

His uptick in form did not earn him a return to Gareth Southgate’s extended, 33-man training squad for the Euros, which kick-off when home side Germany face Scotland in Munich on June 14.

Dortmund captain Emre Can said Sancho was “first-class”, explaining “he didn’t play for six months so it’s not easy to come back and perform like this.”

Can, who was left out of the Germany Euros squad, said the snub would motivate both players on Saturday.

“Of course he’s not happy about it. I’m not in the Germany squad and I’m not happy about it.

“It gives you the extra motivation to show the coaches and national teams that we deserve to be there, and that’s what we will try to do on Saturday.”

The scale of the German side’s task on Saturday is not only illustrated by a mammoth gap in silverware, with Real boasting 14 Champions League trophies to Dortmund’s one.

Real Madrid could afford to spend  a fee in excess of 100 million euros ($108 million) to bring Jude Bellingham from Dortmund 12 months ago.

The England midfielder has been a revelation in the Spanish capital and has proven crucial in Real’s La Liga triumph and their run to another European final.

Dortmund, who finished fifth in the league, 27 points behind Xabi Alonso’s unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen, relied on loan deals as they re-tooled in January.

Alongside Sancho, Dortmund brought in wing-back Ian Maatsen on a six-month loan from Chelsea.

His speed and control down the left flank has been crucial in allowing Sancho to flourish further up the pitch.

Maatsen called Sancho “an amazing player” on Tuesday, saying “we felt each other straight away on the pitch. The connection we have is very good.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News