Bundesliga

Dortmund chief backs Jadon Sancho to play ‘decisive’ role in Champions League final

Sancho deserves second chance at Manchester United


Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl has backed Jadon Sancho to play a ‘decisive’ role in Saturday’s Champions League final. 

Die Schwarzgelben face Real Madrid at Wembley in their first Champions League final since losing to Bayern Munich in 2013 — a match also played at Wembley — while they’re looking to lift the trophy for the first time since their sole 1997 success.

However, after struggling in the Bundesliga this season — limping to a fifth-place finish and ending the campaign 27 points behind champions Bayer Leverkusen — and facing a Real Madrid side looking for their sixth Champions League title in 11 years, there’s no doubt Dortmund are the underdogs.

Dortmund will have to pick their moments against an impressive Los Blancos outfit and one man who could prove vital is Sancho.

The England international has looked revitalised since rejoining Dortmund on loan from Manchester United in January, hitting three goals and three assists in 20 appearances across all competitions and playing a leading role in BVB’s semi-final win over PSG.

Despite not scoring or assisting across the two legs, Sancho was a menace for the Parisian defence, attempting 24 dribbles and completing 16 over both matches combined. Both stats were the most of any player across both Champions League semi-finals, with the 24-year-old completing twice as many dribbles as his nearest rival Vinicius Jr.

It’s little wonder, then, that Kehl is hopeful Sancho will deliver a shock to Real Madrid in London.

“Sancho has recovered his smile with us and that’s just what he needed, to be happy playing football again”, said the former midfielder (via Football Espana).

“I have the feeling he’s going to be decisive against Real Madrid.”

‘Anticipation rising’ among Dortmund players

For many members of this current Dortmund squad, Saturday represents their first-ever Champions League final.

That alone is motivation enough without trying to inflict Real Madrid’s first defeat in this fixture since 1981.

Kehl says there is ‘tension’ and ‘anticipation’ rising in equal measure.

“You can feel the excitement,” he said (via Get German Football News). “Of course, we know what lies ahead of us tomorrow and what a great opportunity we have to play a really great game, win a title, and make history – that’s why the tension is rising, but so is the anticipation.”

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