English Bundesliga

Sancho’s hat-trick keeps alive Dortmund’s hopes in Bundesliga title hunt

England forward Jadon Sancho blitzed his way through a scintillating match that capped a blistering individual performance with a second-half hat-trick that catapulted Borussia Dortmund to a 6-1 drubbing of Paderborn on Sunday and breathed a glimmer of hope into their slim Bundesliga title chances.

Fittingly enabled by Sancho’s performance, 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 forlorn at the foot of the table on 19 points.

The visitors missed a string of chances in the first half sorely missing the goal-scoring exploits of prolific 19-year-old Norway striker Erling Haaland who was sidelined by a knee injury but Sancho fired up the second as Dortmund went into a rioutous spree. He even marked one of his three goals by defiantly lifting his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the words “Justice for George Floyd,” in reference to the tragic death of the unarmed black man that shocked America.

Thorgan Hazard, standing in for Haaland 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 quickly made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in from two meters three minutes later thanks some good work from Julian Brandt before an Uwe Hunemeier penalty briefly rekindled Paderborn’s challenge in the 72nd minute.

Not in any mood to have his team outdone, Sancho clinched Dortmund’s third goal two minutes later with a sizzling left-foot shot from inside the penalty area and Paderborn fell collapsed 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.

Sancho, in imperiously unstoppable form, broke away at the halfway line barely 60 seconds later and with Paderborn throwing everybody forward for a corner, the mercurial winger had all the time and space to rain hard on Paderborn’s parade 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.