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 on Sunday.
The victory kept alive their slim Bundesliga title hopes and left Borussia Dortmund second on 60 points from 29 games with five rounds of matches remaining.
They are 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 half as Borussia Dortmund ran riot.
Thorgan Hazard, who took Haaland’s place upfront, gave Borussia Dortmund a 54th minute lead from close range.
This was after goalkeeper 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 to some good work from Julian Brandt.
An Uwe Hunemeier penalty kick briefly rekindled Paderborn’s challenge in the 72nd minute.
It turned out to be a false dawn as Sancho scored Borussia 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.
With Paderborn throwing everybody forward for a corner kick, he had all the time and space to put the icing on the cake with a clinical finish.
Borussia Dortmund, the 1997 UEFA 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.
Paderborn visit fifth-placed RB Leipzig.(Reuters/NAN)