Matchday 29 of the Bundesliga season saw Borussia Dortmund pick up their third victory in four games since the corona restart. The Black & Yellows won 6-1 (0-0) at SC Paderborn courtesy of a Jadon Sancho hat-trick and additional strikes from Thorgan Hazard, Achraf Hakimi and Marcel Schmelzer.
Despite having 70 percent possession, Dortmund created too few clear-cut opportunities in a cautious opening half. But the tempo was upped significantly in the second half and two well-worked goals – scored by Hazard and Sancho in the 54th and 57th minutes respectively – quickly followed. The hosts halved the deficit when Hünemeier converted a penalty awarded for handball in the 54th minute, only for Sancho to re-establish the two-goal cushion with his second goal of the game barely two minutes later. Hakimi and Schmelzer netted in the 85th and 89th minutes respectively, before Sancho completed his hat-trick in the 91st minute.
Having lost their top-of-the-table clash against Bayern Munich 1-0 on Tuesday, BVB needed a win against the basement boys to consolidate their grip on second place. The head-to-head record prior to kick-off made for curious reading: the Black & Yellows had not lost any of their five previous meetings with the East Westphalians (W3 D2), among them a 7-1 triumph in the DFB Cup in 2015, but they had only one victory and two draws – they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 and recently came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at home – to their name in the league.
The injured Haaland (knee problems) and Dahoud (knee injury) were replaced in the starting XI by Sancho and Can. The trio of Reus (fitness training), Schulz (muscular problems) and Zagadou (torn lateral collateral ligament) were still unavailable.
Paderborn, who lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, mostly tried to get nine outfield players behind the ball and cover a lot of ground to limit the space available to the Black & Yellows. BVB transitioned smoothly between a 3-5-2 and a 3-4-3. Brandt predominantly featured in a central attacking role behind the strike partnership of Hazard and Sancho.
The match & analysis:
The opening minutes saw the promoted outfit cause problems and expose gaps in the BVB defence with their quick and direct approach. Indeed, Antwi-Adjei could have opened the scoring in the 11th minute but he dragged his attempt from the right of the penalty area wide. The first chance for the visitors in what was an extremely fair encounter – there was only one foul in the first half – came on the 17-minute mark when Piszczek played a long ball over towards Hazard, whose effort from a tight angle was kept out by the good reactions of Zingerle in the SCP goal.
The Black & Yellows began to apply more pressure midway through the first period. Brandt teed up Guerreiro inside the box in the 26th minute, but his shot from 16 metres out was turned behind by Zingerle for a corner. Borussia were too often lacking precision with their final ball, however. Can and Brandt then missed the target significantly from promising positions in the 44th and 45th minutes respectively.
Borussia significantly upped the tempo at the beginning of the second period and were creating chances on an almost minute-by-minute basis. Hakimi had an effort from a centre-right position well kept out by Zingerle in the 49th minute, with Hummels heading onto the roof of the net from the ensuing corner a minute later. In the 52nd minute, Hazard latched onto Sancho's cross from the right but fired narrowly wide of the Paderborn goal.
But the floodgates eventually opened in the 54th minute when Guerreiro fed Can on the left flank. Zingerle unluckily parried his powerful cross into the path of Hazard, who tapped the ball into the empty net to take his tally for the season to seven goals. Sancho doubled the advantage barely three minutes later when he converted Brandt's cross into the six-yard box.
The game briefly looked set for a nervy finish when Can – who had actually turned his head away from the ball – was adjudged to have handled in the box in the 72nd minute. Referee Siebert surprisingly awarded a penalty, which was comfortably converted by Hünemeier. But two minutes later Guerreiro spotted a gap on the left and fed Hazard, who in turn found Sancho. The Englishman's powerful left-footed strike from 13 metres took a touch off Zingerle's fingertips before nestling in the back of the net.
That goal all-but decided the outcome of the match, which was a one-sided affair in the second period. There were five minutes remaining when Schmelzer went on a dribbling run inside the box and picked out the unmarked Hakimi, who fired into the far corner from a centre-right position. Four minutes later, the veteran scored his first goal since September 2013 when he tapped home a Witsel cross to put his side 5-1 ahead. His fellow substitute Morey, who was making his Bundesliga debut, was involved in the build-up to the goal. The 20-year-old Spaniard then racked up his first scorer point in stoppage time when he intercepted a corner and played a long ball into the path of Sancho, who slotted home the sixth BVB goal.
BVB are next in action when they host Hertha BSC on Saturday. But they will be without Mats Hummels, who picked up his fifth booking of the season. Kick-off at Signal Iduna Park will be at 18:30 CET.