DORTMUND, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund youngster Jadon Sancho drew praise from his teammate Maximilian Philipp for standing out in Saturday's 4-0 rout over Bayer Leverkusen.
Sancho became the first Englishman to score for Dortmund and -- at 18 years, 27 days -- the youngest from his country to score in Bundesliga history when he netted his first senior goal in front of the yellow wall to put his side ahead in the 13th minute.
"Jadon Sancho played a terrific game today, hats off!" Philipp told reporters after the game.
Sancho went on to pick up seven key passes and two assists in the game. In the 63rd minute, the youngster used his delicate first touch to control a long ball of left-back Manuel Akanji with his heel in full sprint before squaring the ball to Philipp, who slotted home from a central position.
"His acceleration is brutal, he can do a lot of damage with his quick changes of direction," Philipp said of Sancho. "Maybe he's still a bit too playful. He still has a lot to learn and work hard but for an 18-year-old, that was a special performance."
Dortmund were in desperate need of a top display after an embarrassing 2-0 defeat away to Schalke on the previous weekend. After Hoffenheim had dismantled RB Leipzig 5-2 earlier in the afternoon, the Black and Yellows only had a two-point advantage in their race for a top-four finish over Julian Nagelsmann's Hoffenheim.
Mario Gotze said after the game: "It was an important win because we only had four games left before today and absolutely want to qualify for the Champions League. We want to set UCL qualification in stone as quickly as possible. For me personally, the good performance was also important after the last weeks."
The 25-year-old responded with an assist on Saturday after only featuring for four minutes in BVB's last two games and being benched throughout the Revierderby.
Asked whether Dortmund did something different during the week to show such a big improvement, the midfielder replied: "We didn't do all that much different. We analysed the Schalke game with great scrutiny because it was very uncomfortable to lose the derby in the way we did. That hit a little too much close to home, which is why we wanted to show a reaction today and I think we did just that.
"I felt very comfortable being able to play between the lines. It's important for me to be present upfront together with Marco, Julian [Weigl] behind me and having a passing outlet upfront with Maximilian [Philipp]. Having two young, pacey players on the wings [in Christian Pulisic and Jadon Sancho], with a high footballing intelligence helps our game tremendously."
Dortmund fans, meanwhile, aired their discontent for an abject derby loss before the game, hanging a banner across the west stand that read "You did not understand the significance of the derby -- you failures!" and another one at the foot of the yellow wall as the team walked in that spelled: "No will, no passion, no courage, no team! Nobody embodies Borussia Dortmund as little as you."
„No will, no passion, no courage, no team! Nobody embodies Borussia Dortmund as little as you." The banner is sending a strong message to the team after the derby loss. #bvbb04 pic.twitter.com/n5Na7CVvJx— Stefan Buczko (@StefanBuczko) April 21, 2018
"Of course, you read the banners during the warm-up. On the one hand, you have some understanding for it because of the derby loss. On the other hand, but considering that it was a new game and are still aiming for the Champions League, it was a shame," Gotze said.
"However, the fans have shown extraordinary support during the game. The atmosphere was superb and that is important not what happened before and after."
The Dortmund fans did not frantically applaud their players after the 4-0 win. In response, the team did not appear in front of the yellow wall to celebrate the win as they usually do but opted to return to the dressing room.
The fans did, however, celebrate former BVB player Sven Bender, who joined Bayer Leverkusen last summer. Bender played for the Black and Yellows between 2009-2017 and played an integral part in the club's successes of the last decade.
Bender told reporters after the game: "It was very nice. It showed that the people didn't forget me and that I did a lot of things right in all the years. It was a nice way to say thank you and goodbye. It was the longest and most important part of my career."
BVB are still to play against Mainz, Bremen and Hoffenheim in their last three games this season as they try to qualify for the Champions League.