Sancho's 1st goal seals hard-fought triumph for Dortmund

·3 min read

BERLIN — Jadon Sancho scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season on Sunday but Borussia Dortmund returned from the winter break looking like it needs another one in a hard-fought 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.

Sancho only made sure of the result on a counterattack in injury time, shrugging off defender Paulo Otávio’s challenge before firing inside the right post when he just had the goalkeeper to beat.

It was the England forward's first goal in his 12th league appearance this season, a marked decline from last season when he had 17. It led to interest from Manchester United in a big-money transfer. Sancho had seven goals and eight assists after 12 Bundesliga appearances last season.

Sancho made his sixth assist of this season Sunday when he sent in the corner for Manuel Akanji’s breakthrough in the 66th minute, but it had been a frustrating game for Dortmund despite star striker Erling Haaland’s return from a month out with a muscle injury.

“We knew what to expect but we also made it difficult for ourselves,” Dortmund's new coach Edin Terzic said after his first home win.

There was a lengthy holdup midway through the second half for a VAR check on a possible handball by Axel Witsel. The Dortmund midfielder had no time to avoid Renato Steffen’s close-range header and referee Manuel Gräfe eventually allowed play to continue.

Wolfsburg had looked the more likely side to score, but there were few chances after the unscheduled break as the game was repeatedly interrupted by Gräfe’s whistle.

Dortmund had to wait until first-half injury time for its first big chance, missed by Sancho when he failed to connect properly with a rebound. There was still time before the break for Marco Reus to test Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels with a free kick.

Casteels produced a fine one-handed save to deny Haaland after the break, but Akanji finally made the breakthrough when he powered in a header from Sancho’s corner.

The visitors pushed hard for the equalizer until Emre Can sent Sancho free after a Wolfsburg corner.

BAYERN BOUNCES BACK

Bayern Munich survived a scare from lowly Mainz before returning to the top of the Bundesliga with a 5-2 win in the late game.

The defending champions were stunned to be 2-0 down at break, though perhaps it was no surprise as it marked the eighth consecutive game in which Bayern conceded first.

Jonathan Burkardt shrugged off Jérôme Boateng’s meek challenge before opening the scoring in the 32nd minute and Alexander Hack headed in Daniel Brosinski’s free kick in the 44th — after Boateng had fouled Burkardt.

Mainz goalkeeper Finn Dahmen, who was making his debut due to an injury to the club’s No. 1, had made a brilliant save to deny Robert Lewandowski an equalizer in between.

“The first half was like a dream,” the 22-year-old Dahmen said.

Mainz captain Danny Latza hit the post after the break, and then Bayern struck back.

Lewandowski set up Joshua Kimmich in the 50th, six minutes before Kimmich laid the ball off for Leroy Sané to equalize.

Robin Quaison rattled the crossbar for Mainz before Bayern was celebrating again when Alphonso Davies forced an own goal from Leandro Barreiro.

VAR provided the visitors some respite after finding Davies was marginally offside, but there nothing wrong with Niklas Süle’s goal for Bayern in the 70th. Lewandowski added a penalty six minutes later, then scored his 19th goal of the season in the 83rd to wrap it up.

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press