Emre Can’s First Goal Back In Germany Was A Giant Middle Finger To Juventus

Welcome back to Germany, Emre Can.

In his first Bundesliga match with Borussia Dortmund, six years removed from his last appearance in the German league, Emre Can reminded his home country what he’s capable of on Saturday.

Playing against his former club Bayer Leverkusen, Can launched a glorious long-range curling effort to score one of the best strikes of 2020. However, the home side at BayArena scored two late goals to record a wild 4-3 win over Dortmund. 

Emre Can started his professional career with Bayern Munich, but never made much of an impact, appearing just seven times. A move to Leverkusen proved more fruitful (39 appearances) and earned the defensive midfielder a transfer to Liverpool in the Premier League. Can moved from Liverpool to Juventus in 2018 expecting to help the Italian side win a Champions League title. Instead, the club he left won the 2019 Champions League and Can struggled to find playing time with the Italian champs. Not even included in this season’s Champions League group-stage squad, Can was frustrated and wanted out of Italy.

So Can left for Dortmund on the final day of the January transfer window on loan. He missed out on the 5-0 win over Union Berlin last week with illness before making his BVB debut in a one-minute cameo in a DFB Pokal defeat to Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

Handed his first start with Dortmund, Can made an immediate impact, a reminder to Juventus what it was missing out on without him. In a tied match in the first half, he ignored claims from teammates for a hand ball at the edge of the box and instead unleashed one of the sweetest shots of 2020.

Emre Can Goal vs Leverkusen

While some players refuse to celebrate against former teams, Can had no issue celebrating with his new teammates on Saturday. We don’t really mind, considering it’s been nearly seven years since he last suited up for Leverkusen. 

Can is no stranger to scoring spectacular goals. Who can forget his bicycle kick against Watford that won the 2017 EPL goal of the season? 

The Emre Can goal vs Leverkusen was just one of many in the thrilling match. 

In a direct rebuke of those English commentators who lambast any club that tries to play out of the back, Leverkusen struck first with a move that started from the back and finished with Kevin Volland.

Less than two minutes later, BVB equalized through Mats Hummels. Despite having debris thrown his way in the corner, Jadon Sancho provided his 13th assist of the season. 

Despite the Emre Can goal vs Leverkusen, the match was tied at halftime thanks to this volley from Volland. 

Sancho thought he had put Dortmund ahead early in the second half but the goal was disallowed for a silly foul by American teen Gio Reyna in the buildup. Reyna replaced Julian Brandt (instead of, say, 2014 World Cup hero Mario Götze) at halftime and aside from costing BVB that goal looked quite comfortable in the side, taking players on at every opportunity. 

Dortmund would go ahead in the 65th minute, moments after Kai Havertz then struck the post for Leverkusen. Raphaël Guerreiro, playing left back on Saturday, completed a delightful string of play from the visitors.

Dortmund already had Marco Reus, Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, Götze and Brandt, but now with Erling Håland Gio Reyna  and now Can coming on, this team is looking like one of the best offenses in the world. 

But as good as the BVB offense is, the defense is still a bit suspect, even with the return of Hummels.

Leon Bailey, the 22-year-old Jamaican international, equalized in the 81st minute followed by a match winner from Lars Bender a minute later.

Axel Witsel had the best chance for Dortmund to equalize late, but his header with an open net went over the bar.

The match ended 4-3 and despite allowing three goals, Leverkusen became the first Bundesliga club to keep Håland off the scoreboard. In fact, the last team to shut out Håland was Liverpool in the Champions League group stage back on Dec. 10. 

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