Jadon Sancho (l.) has more assists (12) than anyone else in the Bundesliga this season, the same number as Lionel Messi has for Barcelona. - DFL/Imago
Jadon Sancho (l.) has more assists (12) than anyone else in the Bundesliga this season, the same number as Lionel Messi has for Barcelona. - DFL/Imago
bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho level with Barcelona's Lionel Messi as Europe's top assist providers

Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is one of the two top goal providers in European football - level with Barcelona's Lionel Messi - after helping his side to victory on Matchday 26 as the Bundesliga title race rages on.

England winger Sancho got two assists in Dortmund’s thrilling 3-2 win away to Hertha Berlin on Saturday to go, temporarily at least, three points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the league standings.

It means the 18-year-old has now made 12 goals this season – a feat matched only by Messi across Europe’s top five leagues. Bayern's Joshua Kimmich is next on the list in Germany with 10, followed by Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt and Eintracht Frankfurt's Sebastien Haller, who both have nine.

Sancho has also broken Dortmund teammate Mario Götze's single-season assists record for an 18-year-old in the Bundesliga. The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner laid on 11 goals as the Black-Yellows lifted the first of two league titles under Jürgen Klopp back in 2010/11. Ex-Wolfsburg maestro Kevin De Bruyne, now of Sancho's former club Manchester City, holds the all-time assist record for a single Bundesliga campaign (21, 2014/15).

Watch: See what makes Jadon Sancho so effective for Dortmund

Sancho’s form has seen him become a key component for Dortmund, first being used from the bench by Lucien Favre to punish tiring defences. The 18-year-old’s dazzling displays earned him a starting spot from September on – as well as a new contract and an England cap in October – and he demonstrated his importance once again on Matchday 26.

Dortmund were trailing Hertha 2-1 at half-time and, having lost top spot to Bayern on goal difference only the previous week, needed a victory to maintain pressure at the summit.

Cometh the hour, cometh the Sancho. Within two minutes of the restart, the teenager's devilish corner into the box was headed home by Dan-Axel Zagadou to restore parity. Then, just when it looked like the match would end in a frustrating draw for BVB, Sancho popped up inside the Hertha penalty area in the second minute of stoppage time and flicked the ball inside to Marco Reus, whose first-time shot nestled in the net to seal a precious victory.

"What a game," he posted on Twitter afterwards. "The boys stuck at it right till the end. Three points needed! Happy to pick up two assists. Never give up!"