England winger Jadon Sancho on Sunday scored a hat-trick and revealed a “Justice for George Floyd” protest message in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 rout of bottom side SC Paderborn 07 that trimmed Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga to seven points.
Sancho, who has 17 goals and 17 assists in the Bundesliga this season, joined a host of protests in the German top-flight over the weekend at the death of an unarmed black man in the US.
“Delighted to get my first career hat trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change,” Sancho wrote on Instagram.
Morocco international Achraf Hakimi lifted his jersey to deliver the same message as Sancho after scoring Dortmund’s fourth goal at Paderborn.
George Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis during an arrest by a police officer who pinned him to the ground for several minutes by kneeling on his neck, sparking protests across the US.
Earlier on Sunday, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s French forward Marcus Thuram took a knee to protest Floyd’s death, while Schalke 04’s US international Weston McKennie wore a “Justice for George” armband on Saturday.
At Paderborn, second-placed Dortmund kept their remote title hopes intact as Sancho stole the limelight with teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland sidelined by a leg injury.
“We’re going to give everything to win every game,” Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said.
Bayern are firmly on course for an eighth successive title with just six matches left to play and Borussia Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said the focus was now on securing UEFA Champions League qualification as quickly as possible.
“It’s clear that Bayern will be German champions at the end,” Zorc said.
After Dortmund’s attack struggled to break the deadlock, Hazard scored the opening goal on 54 minutes when presented with a tap-in by midfielder Emre Can.
Julian Brandt set up Sancho for his first goal three minutes later, with the England international receiving a yellow card after removing his shirt to reveal the political message.
Paderborn’s Uwe Huenemeier converted a penalty on 72 minutes to give the hosts brief hope, but Dortmund responded with four unanswered goals.
Just two minutes later, Sancho grabbed his second after good work from Hazard.
Hakimi made it 4-1 on 85 minutes when he was set up by Marcel Schmelzer, who came on as a late substitute.
Schmelzer then scored Dortmund’s fifth when he converted an Axel Witsel cross on 89 minutes.
Sancho wrapped up the first hat-trick of his career by slotting home at the far post with the Paderborn defense shredded.
Earlier, ’Gladbach thrashed Union Berlin 4-1 to go third, with Thuram scoring twice and taking a knee in protest at Floyd’s death.
“Marcus has made the point. He has set an example against racism that we all support,” ’Gladbach coach Marco Rose said.
First-half goals by midfielder Florian Neuhaus, who bagged Moenchengladbach’s 3,000th goal in the Bundesliga, and Thuram put the hosts 2-0 up at halftime.
After heading in a cross from compatriot Alassane Plea, the 22-year-old French striker then took a knee on the Borussia Park turf.
“No explanation needed,” the club wrote on Twitter.
Just after halftime, Union’s Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson pulled one back after being left unmarked, but ’Gladbach pulled away when Thuram added his second following another Plea assist.
Plea then grabbed a goal of his own when he fired home to wrap up the victory on 81 minutes.
After the final whistle, the ’Gladbach squad celebrated in front of stands filled with cardboard cutouts of fans.
There were 15,000 cutouts inside Borussia Park, with home supporters paying 19 euros (US$21) each to have their image at the game as fans remain shut out to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
After a 3-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen the previous weekend and a goalless draw with relegation-threatened Werder Bremen on Tuesday last week, it was an important win for Moenchengladbach.
It lifted them to third in the table, but RB Leipzig could leapfrog them if they won at Cologne yesterday.
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