Dortmund seized sole possession of first place in Group A in the UEFA Champions League, dealing Atletico Madrid its biggest loss under Diego Simeone.

By Associated Press
October 24, 2018

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) – Real Madrid's Achraf Hakimi helped Borussia Dortmund deal Atletico Madrid its biggest loss under Diego Simeone, setting up three goals in a 4-0 win in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Simeone took over as Atletico coach in December 2011 and his normally rock-solid side had not lost by a four-goal margin in 390 matches. It was only the fourth time his team conceded four goals after two 4-1 defeats to archrival Real Madrid and one to Barcelona.

''The most important thing is to quickly use possession, and they did so wonderfully,'' Simeone said of Dortmund. ''They are doing very well at the moment, it is very nice to watch.''

The Europa League champions has only conceded five goals in nine Spanish League games this season.

Hakimi, who joined Dortmund on loan for two seasons in the summer, pulled the ball back for Axel Witsel to break the deadlock in the 39th minute and sent it back into the center for Raphael Guerreiro to double the lead in the 73rd.

Ten minutes later he set up Jadon Sancho to seal the win with a tap-in.

There was still time for Guerreiro to grab his second after a botched backpass from Filipe Luis in the 89th.

Dortmund remained unbeaten in 12 games after passing its toughest test of the season thus far. The Bundesliga leader now looks headed for the knockout stage.

Club Brugge drew 1-1 at home with Monaco in the other Group A game. Dortmund leads with nine points from three games, three ahead of Atletico ahead of their return game in Madrid on Nov. 6.

''We can all be very, very satisfied,'' Mario Gotze said after starring in a rare start for Dortmund. ''We have nine points and couldn't be better positioned.''

Gotze was involved in the first goal as the ball made its way to Hakimi, who set up Witsel. The Belgium midfielder eluded Atletico defender Thomas before letting fly. His shot took a deflection, giving Jan Oblak no chance in the Atletico goal.

Saul Niguez went close for Atletico after the break, and even closer minutes later when his curling shot struck the corner between left post and crossbar. Saul followed up with another effort that Roman Burki did well to gather, and then again by heading over as Atletico maintained its second-half pressure.

Hakimi showed his inexperience by getting in Marco Reus' way midway through the half. The Dortmund captain was through and about to shoot when he was surprised by the 19-year-old's appearance from the left.

But Hakimi atoned with his second assist, again sending the ball back into the center, where Guerreiro swept it in after coming on as a substitute.

Lucien Favre rubbed his face and smiled wryly. The Dortmund coach's substitutions have been paying off this season.

Angel Correa, who came on for the luckless Saul, had his effort deflected onto the post by Burki, before Antoine Griezmann hit the side netting for the second time as Atletico refused to give up.

But Hakimi proved decisive again, as did Favre's changes. Three goals came from his substitutes.

''The second goal was decisive,'' Favre said. ''I respect Atletico a lot, their coach, who is one of the best in the world probably. They remain a very, very good side.''

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