It took Christian Pulisic 23 days to return to the pitch. It took him 16 minutes to find the back of the net again.
The American star scored in the 85th minute on his 20th birthday to hand Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win in its Champions League group stage opener on the road at Club Brugge in Belgium.
The goal was a bit fluky, with Pulisic punching a deflected ball high over Brugge goalkeeper Karlo Letica, but he and his teammates will surely take it:
That works @cpulisic_10 😂 pic.twitter.com/T2DGNzPJnJ
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2018
The goal also came on Pulisic’s 100th career appearance for the German giants. Pulisic had been out since Aug. 26 with what the club termed as a muscular injury, which forced him to miss a pair of Bundesliga fixtures and both recent U.S. friendlies.
Dortmund needed a win over Brugge because Group A favorite Atletico Madrid earned a valuable three road points itself against AS Monaco, the French talent factory that will surely give Dortmund fits over both home and away fixtures.
Thanks to Pulisic, Dortmund earned just that.
Elsewhere in Europe on Tuesday, fellow 20-year-old American Weston McKennie — born just three weeks before Pulisic — assisted FC Schalke’s only goal in its 1-1 draw against Porto at home in his Champions League debut. McKennie played a ball across the box that was expertly finished by Breel Embolo in the 64th minute.
Joey Gulino is the editor of FC Yahoo and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.
More soccer on Yahoo Sports:• Firmino’s dramatic winner lifts Liverpool over Paris Saint-Germain• Messi opens Champions League group stage with stunning free kick (video)• McIntyre’s USMNT Stock Watch: Which players are trending up or down?• More Champions League coverage on Yahoo Sports