A returning Jadon Sancho bagged a hat-trick to help Borussia Dortmund romp to a 6-1 victory over bottom club SC Paderborn in their Sunday evening encounter.
The hosts actually started brightly, with midfielder Christopher Antwi-Adjei getting behind Die Schwarzgelben’s defence only to drag his effort wide.
Indeed, Lucien Favre’s side were not able to fashion chances as easily as expected, with Thorgan Hazard’s effort being beaten away, before Raphaël Guerreiro saw his shot deflected wide a short time afterwards.
Dortmund came into half time unable to create a successful opening against Steffen Baumgart’s well-drilled side, with snatched misses from Emre Can and Julian Brandt symbolising their lack of composure and clinical finishing in front of goal.
After the break, home goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle pulled off a terrific stop to deny Achraf Hakmi. However, he was unable to prevent Hazard from getting the breakthrough, with the Belgian tapping home from his save off Can’s cross. It was swiftly followed by Brandt’s surging run which resulted in a slotted finish from Jadon Sancho to double the visitors’ lead.
Against the run of play, Paderborn pulled a goal back through Uwe Hünemeier’s penalty, awarded for a handball against Can. This didn’t seem to unnerve the Dortmund players however, and Sancho restored their two-goal lead with a curling finish past Zingerle.
Hakimi added a fourth with his sliding effort past the home side’s shot-stopper, and substitute Marcel Schmelzer made it five after being assisted by Gio Reyna.
And there was still time for Sancho to get his hat-trick, taking his time before firing in to cap off a fantastic second-half display for Favre’s team, who close the gap to Bayern Munich back to seven points.
Key Talking Point
While they have remained rooted at the bottom of the table, Paderborn have been solid defensively of late and have kept two clean sheets in their three games since returning to action. Their 3-3 draw with the visitors earlier in the season would have also given their fans a bit of hope that they could produce a similar shock this time around.
And their defensive set-up seemed to successfully nullify Die Schwarzgelben early on, who struggled to find a way through. There was little space afforded to Dortmund’s attackers and they were even able to create half-chances of their own, with Antwi-Adjei the recipient of their best targets on goal.
But it proved to be too hard a task in sustaining their energy for the second-half. They were opened up defensively as the game went on, struggling to match the new-found energy of their opponents, whose superior quality also became too much to handle.
While they, at least, managed to get a consolation goal through the penalty, and can be proud of their first-half efforts, time is running out for Paderborn to save their Bundesliga status.
Starting XI: Zingerle (7); Strohdiek (6), Hünemeier (7), Schonlau (7); Dräger (7) Antwi-Adjei (7), Vasiliadis (7), Holtmann (7), Collins (6); Mamba (6), Srbeny (6)
Substitutes: Michel (6), Zolinski (6), Pröger (6), Jastrzembski (N/A), Sabiri (N/A)
Who would have thought that it would be Paderborn’s Antwi-Adjei who had the most chances in the first-half? Few would have guessed that.
Yet the Ghanaian was able to get on the end of his side’s counter-attacks and showed off his terrific endurance to put the opposing defence under threat. He never stopped running throughout the game and worked tirelessly to help his defence in relieving them from the huge pressure brought upon them.
Found by the team in the German fifth-division, he could be a useful player in the bottom club’s faint hopes of avoiding relegation in the coming games.
Key Talking Point
With Erling Haaland absent due to a knee issue, all eyes were on the inclusion of Jadon Sancho, with many expecting him to play a major role replacing the attacking firepower of the Norwegian star.
And he looked a little sluggish to begin with. On several occasions he was dispossessed carelessly in the final third despite getting himself into great positions. It didn’t help that he was often up against two or even three Paderborn defenders whenever he got the ball in his favoured left-wing position.
But this changed in the second half. The sought-after winger was given more space on the break and was able to tap home from Julian Brandt’s pass, celebrating his goal by taking off his shirt to show off a message of support for George Floyd, the African-American man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Sancho only needed three touches to grab a second, curling the ball past Zingerle with his weaker foot. Now fully at his best, he looked hungry to get his hat-trick – which he would get thanks to a right-foot finish that beat the keeper at his near-post.
If anyone had any doubts over Dortmund’s ability to replace Haaland – Sancho’s statement display did much to allay any concerns.
Starting XI: Bürki (6); Piszczek (6), Hummels (7), Akanji (6); Hakimi (7), Delaney (6), Can (7), Guerreiro (8); Sancho (9*), Hazard (7), Brandt (7)
Substitutes: Witsel (6), Reyna (7), Schmelzer (7), Morey (N/A), Balerdi (N/A)
By his high standards, Jadon Sancho would have been disappointed with his performance at half-time. But he more than atoned for it with a superb second-half display.
His pace was on show as he got on the end of Brandt’s pass to tap home for his 15th goal of the season. And not stopping there, the winger scored a curling effort to restore his team’s two-goal lead.
A third goal just before full-time gave him a hat-trick, which capped off a sensational performance to address any concerns some had over his fitness before the game.
It doesn’t get easier for Paderborn, who travel to fellow top-four side RB Leipzig next Saturday. Meanwhile, Dortmund will play at home to Hertha Berlin on the same day.