Jadon Sancho has proven the doubters wrong once again for Borussia Dortmund with the first hat-trick of his professional career. - © Ralf Ibing/Pool/IMAGO images
Jadon Sancho has proven the doubters wrong once again for Borussia Dortmund with the first hat-trick of his professional career. - © Ralf Ibing/Pool/IMAGO images

Jadon Sancho: Borussia Dortmund's hat-trick hero and MD29's Man of the Matchday


Just when Borussia Dortmund observers were beginning to question whether Jadon Sancho belonged in their strongest possible XI after the restart, the young Englishman scored his first career hat-trick, taking his season numbers to 17 goals and 16 assists - the first player with such a record in the modern era.

Like many of us, 20-year-old Sancho had struggled to find a solution for his hair during the lockdown period of the coronavirus pandemic. A look-good feel-good player, Sancho made sure the problem was solved ahead of Dortmund's trip to Paderborn, and along with his fresh trim came comic-style fresh ink, featuring The Simpsons and Sonic the Hedgehog to add to the Londoner's collection.

With two of his favourite things freshly captured on his skin and his look back to its usual slick self, Sancho's play on the pitch followed suit with a silky second-half display that took Dortmund from the potential disappointment of 0-0 draw at bottom side Paderborn to driving away smiling after a 6-1 win and a first hat-trick matchball in his suitcase.

The first goal was simple, with Sancho in the right place to slot home Julian Brandt's pass across goal to make the score 2-0. The second was special and came at the perfect time, just two minutes after Uwe Hünemeier had halved the hosts' arrears at the other end. The winger showed his ambidextrous footwork as he moved Thorgan Hazard's pass onto his left foot on the edge of Paderborn's box, before producing a strike across goal that was too powerful for Leopold Zingerle to stop. Try telling the Paderborn goalkeeper it came from Sancho's 'weaker foot'.

With his first goal highlighting his attacking instincts and his second displaying the brute force behind the finesse, Sancho then showcased the speed and dribbling we have come to love since his arrival in the Bundesliga for his third. Rampaging towards goal and leaving Paderborn's defence in the dust, the winger slotted the ball past Zingerle at his near post.

The sixth goal in a win over Paderborn may not sound important, but it was the third for Sancho on the day and as expected, clearly had huge personal significance. The England international says he is happiest when on the pitch with a ball at his feet, but in his development at Dortmund, he has learned not to let his emotions get the better of him.

Watch: Witsel: "He's one of the best of his generation"

When you've scored three goals in a game for the first time in the professional world, however, there's reason to smile, which Sancho did. That child inside him who had dreamed of this moment, much like many he has been able to live in his time at Dortmund, could not be held in any longer.

And it's the childlike wonder that Sancho possesses which has helped him well into double figures in both goals and assists in the Bundesliga this season - both being club-best marks. The things he learned on the streets of Kennington in the English capital as a child now part of the reason why he is so much better than the rest at his age.

No player in Bundesliga history has scored 30 goals faster than Sancho and having broken that record set by Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, the Englishman will now have his eyes set on the record Havertz broke himself just last Friday when he became the youngest to reach 35 goals in the German top-flight.

Jadon Sancho celebrated scoring three goals in a game for the first time in his professional career with his treble against Paderborn. - LARS BARON/AFP/Pool/Getty Images

There was also relief in Sancho's celebrations on Sunday. The winger had not started a game for Dortmund since the league's restart, and fans were beginning to worry he had not returned from the coronavirus-enforced break at the peak of his powers. On Sunday, though, Sancho looked good, felt good, and played in the way Dortmund fans had perhaps worried they would not see from him again this season.

In truth, nobody should ever have written Sancho off. This is a player who instead of staying at Manchester City with first-team opportunities at a premium, headed for the bright lights of the Signal Iduna Park and has never looked back. Bumps in the road? Yes, they can happen for any player, but Sancho is proving he is just as able to ride those as he does challenges from opposition markers. It was a similar story back in November when Sancho was disciplined by his club after returning late from international duty, missing his side's 1-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach in the process.

Watch: From Keegan to Sancho, Englishmen in the Bundesliga

Sancho then returned with four goals and two assists in his next three Bundesliga outings, silencing the doubters and showing that the dip in form was a mere blip in a career which has pursued a near vertical trajectory.

It wasn't the start to the week that Sancho or anyone at Dortmund had hoped for after succumbing to a 1-0 Klassiker defeat against title rivals Bayern Munich. The Englishman began that game on the bench, as he had in the previous two outings since the Bundesliga's return.

But on Sunday, Sancho made sure that he and his side had an end to the week to remember. And with his hair in check and Sonic and Bart & Co. for company, who's to say Sancho won't continue making those childhood dreams come true in the final five games of this Bundesliga season.