Christian Pulisic will have plenty to celebrate on his 20th birthday, including a fortunate goal that delivered his team three points.
Pulisic had to withdraw from the United States national team and missed Borussia Dortmund’s games on both sides of the international break due to injury, but got the start in his 100th appearance for the senior side in their Champions League opener against Club Brugge.
Dortmund entered the match looking to wash away the bitter taste of last season’s European struggles with a matchup against the Belgian champions.
But Dortmund found the sledding difficult on the road, with the game remaining scoreless late on.
Then in the 85th minute, Brugge's Matej Mitrovic attempted to make a pass out the back but Pulisic pressed him and blocked the effort. The ball deflected up in the air and over Brugge goalkeeper Karlo Letica for the game’s opener.
That’s how it finished with birthday-boy Pulisic given the gift, and Dortmund the victory, which stood as their 50th in the competition in their 107th game.
It was a crucial three points for Dortmund, as they will face Monaco, who fell 2-1 to Atletico Madrid, next in Group A.
Pulisic wasn’t the only American to enjoy a productive outing in the Champions League. Weston McKennie earned an assist on Breel Embolo’s 64th minute opener for Schalke.
However, that did not prove enough for last season’s Bundesliga runners up despite hosting Porto, as an Otavio spot-kick was enough for the visitors to snag a point.
Schalke will face Lokamotiv Moscow next in Group D.