Paco Alcacer has hit the ground running at Borussia Dortmund since joining from Barcelona, scoring every 18 minutes he has played; club captain Marco Reus has actually had a direct hand in more goals – nine to the Spaniard’s seven - but behind and alongside that pair, Christian Pulisic, Jadon Sancho and Jacob Bruun Larsen could well be the best supporting cast in world football, and they’re barely out of their teens…
The three young tyros have had to share Bundesliga playing time this term - Bruun Larsen leads the way with 357 minutes followed by Pulisic with 349 and Sancho on 304 – with BVB coach Lucien Favre yet to use them all at the same time.
Are they doing the same job but equally well? bundesliga.com investigates…
Position: Right winger/attacking midfielder
Country: USA (21 caps, 9 goals)
Key stat: Attempts a league-high 51 dribbles per game
Twenty years of age with over 100 professional appearances to his name, the American winger has talked about his desire to not "be perceived as the future - I want to be seen as the present" for both club and country. As the most established of the three, his numbers at Dortmund back up his claim having attempted the most dribbles (51), whilst boasting the best pass completion rate of 88.4 per cent - a staggering success rate for a winger.
Pulisic has blazed a trail at BVB that Sancho and Bruun Larsen are profiting from, but is having his own skills and ambitions sharpened by the increased level of competition for a spot in Favre’s first-choice XI. A history-maker for hitting significant milestones and breaking records at a young age, Pulisic is likely to continue whilst realising his "enormous potential" as Favre predicted.
Position: Right & left wing
Country: England (1 cap)
Key stat: Has provided a Europe-high six assists
It’s a case of full steam ahead on the Jadon Sancho bandwagon. For Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc, Sancho is "the most exciting player in Europe" - a view that is likely shared by an ever-increasing number of people following a series of headline-grabbing performances for both club and country.
"We’re building something incredible here," said the London native, who has had a hand in 11 goals in 12 games this season, despite making just four starts in all competitions. "I can make outstanding progress here." The 18-year-old’s flair, bravery and dynamism have made him not only one of the most-feared wingers in the league, but also one of the Bundesliga’s chief creators having teed up 17 goalscoring chances in just 304 minutes of action.
Watch: What makes Sancho such an asset to Dortmund?
Jacob Bruun Larsen
Position: Left winger
Country: Denmark (U21)
Key stat: Most shots on target (8)
Bruun Larsen was eyeing a move away from Dortmund after an unsuccessful half-year loan in Stuttgart, but has been given a new lease of life under the new man in charge. "Mr. Favre has shared a few details on the chances I’m going to get out on the pitch. I feel like I can learn the most here at BVB and my aim is to make the breakthrough."
With only 111 Bundesliga minutes under his belt coming into this season, Borussia have adopted a cautious approach with the winger. "We’ve been careful about not rushing him at such a young age, but he’s proven how clever he is," was Favre’s glowing report following the Dane’s UEFA Champions League debut in which he grabbed a goal and an assist against Monaco. A rise up the pecking order has only scratched the surface of what Bruun Larsen can bring to the table.