Sancho steals the show after lacklustre first half
Jadon Sancho's second half hat trick spared Borussia Dortmund's blushes against SC Paderborn 07 after a dire first 45 minutes at the Benteler-Arena.
Scoring in the 57th, 74th and 91st minute, the English winger accounted for half of his team's second half goals,with Thorgan Hazard, Achraf Hakimi and Marcel Schmelzer also appearing on the score sheet as the title challengers eventually won comfortably 6-1. Sancho took his goal tally for the season to 17, cementing his position as the 3rd highest scorer in the Bundesliga, after Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner in first and second respectively.
Following their 1-0 loss to leaders Bayern Munich that all but wrapped up the 2019/20 season, Dortmund were forced to make two changes with injuries to Mahmoud Dahoud and Erling Braut Håland handing Emre Can and Sancho starting caps. The changes saw Hazard move into a false number 9 position which took nearly an hour to bare fruit and resulted in one shot on target from five attempts as Dortmund struggled to break down Paderborn's packed defence in the first half.
It was only once Thorgan Hazard slotted a parried cross from Emre Can into an open net after 54th minutes, and Paderborn had to be more aggressive in their pursuit of points, that the game opened up with Sancho scoring his first three minutes later, once again putting the ball into an open net, thanks to a nice through ball from Thomas Delaney to Julian Brandt who crossed to the open Englishman.
Paderborn fought back over the next 15 minutes, with the ball illegally finding it's way into the Dortmund net in the 61st minute thanks to a well worked free kick routine from the left side line. The routine saw a back-post cross headed into the middle by Uwe Hünemeier eventually fall to an offside Dennis Srbeny who smashed the ball past Roman Bürki for a disallowed goal.
The bottom-placed team kept the pressure on and did find the back of the net 10 minutes later after Hünemeier converted a controversial penalty for handball in the area. Daniel Siebert, the match referee, judged that Emre Can handled the ball whilst blocking a Mohamed Dräger shot in the area, but replays showed the German to have turned his back on the ball before the shot was made a few yard away.
Hopes of an upset were dashed moments later as Jadon Sancho's shot from just inside the area curled away from Leopold Zingerle's out stretched hands into the inside netting to make the score 3-1 and take the wind out of the sails of the Paderborn team.
Dortmund's last three goals came in quick succession after multiple additions from the bench breathed new life into the team. Substitute Marcel Schmelzer came away with a goal and an assist after linking up with Hakimi who finished a move, that could have been stopped a multiple of times for fouls in the build up, and converting a tap in from an Axel Witsel cross himself.
Sancho completed his hat trick in the first minute of added time, breaking on the counter attack from a Paderborn corner, thanks to a Mateu Morey through ball, using the support he had in Thorgan Hazard to avoid a challenge from Jamilu Collins and score in the bottom right corner of the goal.
The win for Dortmund was much needed to keep pressure on Bayern Munich who remain seven points clear of BVB with only five games left to play. Paderborn are now staring relegation in the face as they stayed rooted to the bottom of the table, four points off Werder Bremen, who play tonight, in 17th and 12 points off safety.