A 3-0 home win against recent bogey opponents Hamburger SV added up to a good afternoon's work for Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 30 and come the final whistle, there was one player in particular who had grounds for good cheer at the Signal Iduna Park: fast-rising prodigy Christian Pulisic, who set the hosts on the road to victory with his first goal in the Bundesliga.
With BVB initially making heavy weather of it and seemingly still struggling to get the previous Thursday's dramatic Europa League exit at Liverpool FC out of their collective system, Pulisic struck in the 38th minute, latching onto a lay-off from Mats Hummels and beating HSV keeper Rene Adler at the near post with a precise low finish. In that moment, at 17 years and 212 days old, the teen sensation from the USA also became the fourth-youngest player ever to score in Germany's top flight, behind Timo Werner, Julian Draxler and record-holder Nuri Sahin, his current BVB team-mate.
Asked what was going through his mind after he scored, the Pennsylvania native said, “I didn't know what to think, to be honest. I was just focused on my celebration. I was so excited to finally get my first goal in the Bundesliga, it was amazing.” The subsequent “dabbing,” he explained, was “a little celebration I have from my American roots. It's just a dance, that's all you need to know!”
There will undoubtedly be more to follow. Pulisic, who helped Dortmund to the national U-17 title last year, has been fast-tracked to the top by the management. “We're not surprised by how he's progressed,” says sporting director Michael Zorc, who was concomitantly unperturbed by the winter departures of attacking talents Adnan Januzaj and Jonas Hofmann. With his exceptional pace, close control and pass accuracy, Pulisic has since established himself, in the words of coach Thomas Tuchel, as a “fully-fledged member of the squad.” Even prior to that debut goal, he had caught the eye with his assured performances.
His deeds, needless to say, have not gone unnoticed in his homeland, either. Already a veritable U-17 veteran, the kid from small-town Hershey got to savour the sweet moment of his first senior call-up from USMNT head coach Jürgen Klinsmann last month, taking his bow off the bench on March 29 in a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala. It was another defining moment in the remarkable young career of Christian Pulisic.