Reuters Paderborn, Germany
England forward Jadon Sancho capped a blistering individual performance with a second-half hat-trick which helped Borussia Dortmund to a 6-1 win at Paderborn yesterday and kept alive their slim Bundesliga title hopes.
The result left Dortmund second on 60 points from 29 games with five rounds of matches remaining, seven behind champions and league leaders Bayern Munich, while Paderborn remained rooted to the foot of the standings on 19 points.
With prolific 19-year-old Norway striker Erling Haaland sidelined by a knee injury, the visitors missed a string of chances in the first half but Sancho lit up the second as Dortmund ran riot.
Thorgan Hazard, who took Haaland’s place up front, gave Dortmund a 54th-minute lead from close range after keeper Leopold Zingerle, who had made a string of good saves, failed to deal with an Emre Can cross from the left.
Sancho made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in from two metres three minutes later thanks some good work from Julian Brandt before an Uwe Hunemeier penalty briefly rekindled Paderborn’s challenge in the 72nd minute.
It turned out to be a false dawn as Sancho scored Dortmund’s third two minutes later with a fine left-foot shot from inside the penalty area and Paderborn fell apart in the closing stages.
Achraf Hakimi drilled in the fourth in the 85th minute with a crisp shot into the far corner and Marcel Schmelzer added the fifth in the 89th from close range.
The unstoppable Sancho broke away at the halfway line barely 60 seconds later and with Paderborn throwing everybody forward for a corner, he had all the time and space to put the icing on the cake with a clinical finish.
Dortmund, the 1997 Champions League winners who last won the German title in 2012, are at home to ninth-placed Hertha Berlin in the next round on Saturday while Paderborn visit fifth-placed RB Leipzig.
Borussia MoenchenGladbach went third in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 4-1 win over Union Berlin, who are increasingly facing a fight for top-flight survival.
Florian Neuhaus opened the scoring for the hosts with Gladbach’s 3,000th goal in the Bundesliga and Marcus Thuram doubled the advantage before the break. Union replied through Sebastian Andersson but Thuram and Alassane Plea made the points safe.
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