Undoubtedly, the two most sparkling young players in Europe will compete against each other in the Champions League on Tuesday, when Borussia Dortmund will take on PSG in Signal Iduna Park.
The figures of Jadon Sancho this season are quite shocking when you look at the episode of early November, which included a humiliating replacement in the first half against Bayern Munich.
The 19-year-old seems to be leaving Germany in the summer, but constant speculation, if anything, has seen his performance level rise significantly – he scored in Friday’s win against Eintracht Frankfurt and fits seamlessly with January when signing Erling Braut Haaland.
Jadon Sancho (L) and Kylian Mbappe (R) are two of the best prospects in world football
In the meantime, Kylian Mbappe has inevitably continued his rich score form in Ligue 1, despite his very public fallout with manager Thomas Tuchel.
Dissatisfied with the fact that he was replaced by a routine victory at the beginning of February, the World Cup winner unambiguously expressed his feelings to Tuchel, who thought the pair would have settled their differences amicably.
But how do these two compare this season, given that they have both reached the highest level at such a young age?
SANCHO VS MBAPPE THIS SEASON
- Appearance: 30
- goals: 16
- Assists: 17
- Yellow / red cards: 0/0
- Appearance: 28
- goals: 24
- Assists: 15
- Yellow / red cards: 2/0
Statistics in all competitions according to Transfer Market
Starting with Sancho, the most striking thing about his set of statistics is that the number of assists he has recorded is even higher for his respectable goals.
In general, the English international is involved in 33 goals in 30 games this season, with 17 assists to deal with his 16 goals.
This stat, somewhat anomaly among the majority of attacking players across Europe, bears witness to his naturally creative instincts in and around the penalty area and not always his willingness to get on the score form.
He is also in a lightning-fast form – he played a role in a Borussia Dortmund goal in 10 of their last 11 Bundesliga games and scored at least once in nine of those games.
Also in the Champions League, he scored in a defeat at the Nou Camp in the group stage and scored a goal in the crucial 2-1 win against Slavia Prague on match day six.
The 19-year-old Sancho scored in nine of the last 11 Bundesliga games of Borussia Dortmund
For Mbappe, the more experienced of the two out of 21 and with a world cup triumph already under his belt, his 2019-20 figures are also impressive, although that includes goals in a consistently weaker division in Ligue 1.
Indeed, PSG is again running away with the French title – they are 10 points ahead of Marseille – and Mbappe is PSG’s top scorer with 15 Ligue 1 goals, two for team-mate Neymar.
But the whole world knows that, as with every season, the Champions League is the priority for PSG.
It is even such a priority that Mbappe rested on Amiens for the 4-4 tie Saturday, not even on the bench. A declaration of intent if there ever was one. Now that the competition is complete, Tuchel has to move on to the final stages in Europe, or else.
PSG ran away for Christmas with a group of 13 times Real Madrid winners. Mbappe scored a hat trick at Club Brugge and found the back of the net on the Bernabeu in a 2-2 tie that secured first place in Group A.
The World Cup winner will be desperate to make an impact when the Champions League returns
And yet, despite all their remarkable statistics, it has not been clear this season for Sancho and Mbappe, especially with regard to their relationships with the man on the hotseat.
Sancho’s fallout was the first. A faint start of 36 minutes, in what was ultimately a 4-0 defeat of Bayern in the Allianz Arena, resulted in Dortmund-boss Lucien Favre who replaced the Englishman.
Later, perhaps not surprisingly, it turned out that the teenager felt “humiliated” and “like a scapegoat” after the incident.
Sancho looks depressed as he trudges onto the field in November, with Lucien Favre behind him
That led to a large number of rumors about his future and, although his form has been restored, he seems on his way to a return to the Premier League, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the shortlist at the moment.
He was also criticized in the German press for his antics during his vacation in Dubai during the winter break.
He was shot on video and ordered a “golden steak” that was believed to have cost £ 268 from the restaurant of famous chef Salt Bae, said to have agitated the PR department in Dortmund.
The takeover of Haaland, the teenage marksman of Red Bull Salzburg, however, seems to have revitalized Sancho, heading for a crucial period of the season.
While Dortmund is fighting for honor both domestically and in Europe, Sancho holds the key to unlock every continent’s defense, with its directness and eye for the sublime, often a game changer in the final third.
The precipitation was strikingly similar with Mbappe. With a 5-0 win over Montpellier on February 1, Tuchel Mbappe pulled away after 68 minutes, to the dissatisfaction of the 21-year-old.
Tuchel tried to explain his decision to Mbappe and held the striker for a few seconds before Mbappe walked to the bench, clearly touched by the decision.
Thomas Tuchel has words with Mbappe after his replacement against Montpellier
This has inevitably also led to speculation about the future of Mbappe, with Real Madrid a constant link. However, Tuchel knows that he needs his best player – alongside Neymar – to shoot at all cylinders while the French champions continue their long-running quest for European glory.
They were dumped out of the league last season in the final-16 phase after a controversial last-minute VAR call against Manchester United went against them and despite their wealth, they have to go even further than the quarter-finals of the league.
For Mbappe, his teammates and in particular manager Tuchel, Tuesday evening and the subsequent return match at the Parc des Princes on 11 March will be a season determinant.
Mbappe is depressed after PSG left the Champions League last season for Manchester Utd
After three consecutive seasons of last-16 misery, the entire club knows that this time they can hardly prevent them from faltering. Although it’s a tough tie in an intimidating first-leg atmosphere, PSG are the regular favorites given their group stage.
SANCHO VS MBAPPE – CAREER STATES
The 21-year-old himself will probably play alongside Mauro Icardi in an attack, with Neymar and Angel di Maria in support. Quite a line-up, and Mbappe will try to use his pace behind a likely center-back pair by Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji in Dortmund.
Sancho, on the other hand, operates from the right. Probably against Spanish international Juan Bernat, the former Manchester City player will increase his chances if he gets the space to work his magic.
Both Sancho and Mbappe are potential match winners for their respective parties, and both know that this is the night to get up and be counted.
Nevertheless, this match is tailor-made for Mbappe to steal the show. He is desperate to lead the Parisians to success in Europe – his current personal-best in the Champions League came in 2016-17, with ex-club Monaco.
Mbappe still has to test the success in Europe for PSG after two disappointing final-16 exits
A first-class display on Tuesday could increase Sancho’s price tag through the summer window
Why is he at the top? Well, he’s a more developed player than Sancho, and in the middle he’s more likely to deliver the finishing touch for the goal, and his scorching pace will damage what is generally a leaking Dortmund defense.
Plus, and most crucially, whether at club or international level, Mbappe has tended to produce the goods in its short career so far when it matters most, on the biggest stage.
Take, for example, the 2018 World Cup: he shone and strengthened when France needed him in the final-16 against Argentina, scored twice, while he was also the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele when he came on the score sheet against Croatia.
Mbappe was an important player for France when they triumphed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia
Sancho, on the other hand, has no past for performing on this kind of stage. His time will come. It is simply unlikely that it is now.
In the infancy of his career, he is still fighting for a starting point in Gareth Southgate’s England XI and although he is in good shape, it is a formidable PSG line-up that he will face tonight, about to make countless years of near-accidents in the Champions League well.
Whether it is in Dortmund or in a future club in England, Sancho will undoubtedly have countless opportunities to be the man in the spotlight in European football. On this occasion, however, it is intended that Mbappe becomes the chief.