Jadon Sancho could hardly have been happier after assisting Marco Reus for the second of three goals as his return to Borussia Dortmund ended with a 3-0 win over Darmstadt.
Sancho had scored and assisted in the double digits for each of his three full seasons in BVB's first team before returning to his native England in 2021, but failed to recreate that electric form at Old Trafford.
He is now back at the Signal Iduna Park with a point to prove, and wasted little time to that end on Saturday, teeing up Reus as BVB cruised to a 3-0 win which kept them within touching distance of the European places.
Watch: Highlights of Dortmund's 3-0 win over Darmstadt
"I just feel like it was meant to be, you know?," the winger told bundesliga.com after the game. "Me coming back and seeing Marco again - he's a great friend of mine, I just appreciate him. I'm happy to set up his goal today."
Sancho may have been without first-team action since August, but his fleet-footedness and speed of thought was intact as he snuck in behind Emir Karić and squared to leave Reus with the simplest of finishes.
Cynics might point out that Darmstadt are the Bundesliga's bottom-placed team at the midway point of the season, but Sancho impressed beyond his assist, nonetheless.
The 23-cap England winger replaced fellow former Manchester City academy player Jamie Bynoe-Gittens on 55 minutes, and as well as teeing up Reus he completed 40 intensive runs and five tackles - not bad for player whose diligence has been publicly doubted.
It was 966 days between Sancho's last Bundesliga assist - also for Reus as BVB beat Mainz 3-1 in May 2021 - and this one. The pair have now assisted each other 14 times all told, and more are sure to follow.
"Yeah 100 per cent," Sancho said when asked if it felt like coming home. "Like I said all week, ever since I've come back I've felt like home and yeah, I'm just happy to be back on the pitch again."
"I'm just to be happy again, to be back on the pitch, just to try and help the team - getting them back in the top three and obviously qualifying for the Champions League next year. I've got personal goals, that I'm not going to say for now, but I just want to help the team."
A first England cap in two years might be on Sancho's mind with UEFA Euro 2024 coming to Germany in June, and if he and Dortmund can capture lightning in a bottle for a second time, it will be good news for club and country alike.
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