BERLIN — Jadon Sancho scored his first Borussia Dortmund goal and set up two others in a 4-0 victory over top-four rival Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday that pushed his team closer toward sealing Champions League qualification.
It was the first goal in professional football for the 18-year-old English forward, who couldn't break into the Manchester City first team before leaving last year.
Sancho's starring role came on his fourth start for Dortmund and his first since January.
"It's been hard getting back into the team, getting my fitness," Sancho said. "But now I feel good."
Sancho, who won the under-17 World Cup with England last year, took only 13 minutes on his ninth Bundesliga appearance to find the net. Christian Pulisic won the ball on the halfway line and held off Leverkusen players before feeding Sancho, who curled a shot inside the far post.
Marco Reus had a goal ruled out for offside and a penalty kick saved, but he finally scored when Mario Goetze set him free with a deft touch early in the second half.
Sancho showed a wonderful first touch to take the ball with the side of his foot in his stride before setting up Maximilian Philipp for Dortmund's third. Sancho picked out Reus with a precise cross for the fourth.
Sancho's contribution helped Dortmund move into third place in the Bundesliga, three points clear of Leverkusen. The top four qualify for Europe's top competition.
Hamburger SV kept alive hope of Bundesliga survival by edging fellow relegation candidate Freiburg 1-0.
With three games remaining, Hamburg was within five points of safety. Hamburg is the only side to have played every season since the Bundesliga's formation in 1963.
BAYERN READY FOR MADRID
League champion Bayern Munich warmed up for Real Madrid's visit with a comfortable 3-0 win in Hannover.
Substitutes Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski scored in the second half, with the latter taking his league-leading tally to 28. Sebastian Rudy completed the scoring late.
With one eye on Wednesday's Champions League semifinal first leg, Jupp Heynckes benched Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez, Joshua Kimmich, Franck Ribery, Mueller, and Lewandowski. David Alaba was left out of the squad. A Bundesliga debut was given to Lars Lukas, an 18-year-old defender.
Leipzig's hopes of Champions League football suffered a blow after being routed at home by Hoffenheim 5-2.
Hoffenheim moved two points above Leipzig and within two of Leverkusen, which occupies the last Champions League qualification place.
Stuttgart defeated Werder Bremen 2-0 at home to make sure it can't be demoted.
Also, Hertha Berlin won at Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0. The latter's Makoto Hasebe was sent off for striking Davie Selke in the face.
Selke had earlier fallen theatrically under Hasebe's challenge to earn a penalty. Referee Sascha Stegemann stuck with his initial decision despite consulting video replays, and Selke's spot kick broke the deadlock.