Christian Pulisic came off the bench and scored the lone goal for Dortmund. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
BRUGES, BELGIUM — As of Tuesday, Christian Pulisic isn’t a teen phenom any more.
He turned 20 today and the U.S. international midfielder celebrated it and his return from a muscle injury in style by striking for the lone goal to lift Borussia Dortmund to a 1-0 Group A triumph at Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League.
“It was great to come back after injury to and to be back with the team,” Pulisic said.
Pulisic, who hadn’t played since Aug. 26, came on as a substitute with 20 minutes remaining and didn’t disappoint in his 100th appearance for the Bundesliga powerhouse. He tallied in the 85th minute when Matej Mitrovic’s clearance rebounded off his shin and looped in over goalkeeper Karlo Letica.
“It was a bit lucky but I’ll take it on my birthday,” Pulisic said. “I just saw the ball getting played through. I think the defender tried clearing it but I was in the right spot at the right time,” Pulisic said. “I think we deserved the goal at the time.”
Pulisic became only the third U.S. player to score multiple Champions League goals; he recorded a goal against Benfica last year. Fabian Johnson tallied twice for Borussia Moenchengladbach and DaMarcus Beasley, who scored six in stints at PSV Eindhoven and Rangers.
“I’m just going to enjoy the rest of the night with the team,” Pulisic said of his birthday celebrations.
Mario Goetze, who made a rare start for Dortmund, couldn’t provide much of a spark against Club Brugge. hosts. He had Dortmund’s only shot on target apart from Pulisic’s goal.
“It was a lucky win, a dirty win,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said.