Borussia Dortmund strolled to a 5-1 victory over Hannover on Saturday afternoon to restore their nine point advantage over Bayern Munich.
Hannover generated the early opportunities in the match and forced Roman Bürki into an early save, but Dortmund grew into the game and looked like the team most likely to score. Marco Reus had two clear cut chances, firing over the bar and hitting the post as the goal neared for Die Schwarzgelben.
The opener eventually came for the Bundesliga leaders, Achraf Hakimi played a lovely give and go with Raphaël Guerreiro, leaving the Moroccan with plenty of time and space to smash the ball into the top right hand corner from just outside the box.
Dortmund controlled the second half and were gifted their second goal by a defensive mistake. Hakimi put pressure on opposing full-back Miiko Albornoz, allowing him to steal the ball from the Chilean before squaring the ball to the oncoming Reus, who poked the ball round Esser.
The third came quickly after for Dortmund. Their lightening quick counter attacking play again troubled Hannover’s defence, Jadon Sancho taking a mazy run across the 18-yard box before picking out Mario Götze, who slotted the ball into the net. Raphaël Guerreiro struck a fourth soon after.
Hannover scored a consolation goal with five minutes left to play through Marvin Bakalorz, but
Axel Witsel popped up late on to restore Dortmund's four-goal cushion.
Key Talking Point
Dortmund’s counter attacking play has been the main reason why their season has been incredibly successful. Lucien Favre has transformed this Dortmund side into the dominant attacking force that failed to materialise so often last season.
The interchanging Reus and Götze pulled the Hannover defence all over the place and made pockets of space for wingers Sancho and Guerreiro, creating chances throughout the game as Hannover eventually crumbled. Attacking full-backs Hakimi and Lukasz Piszczek were allowed to push forward as they also caused problems for the Hannover defence.
Starting XI: Bürki (7), Piszczek (8), Weigl (7), Diallo (6), Hakimi (9), Witsel (7), Delaney (7), Sancho (7), Guerreiro (9*), Reus (8), Götze (8).
Substitutions: Alcocer (6), Schmelzer (6), Dahoud (N/A).
Raphael Guerreiro played his part in two of Dortmund’s goals, the Portuguese winger scoring the fourth in an impressive all-round performance.
His involvement in the opening goal was incredible, with a great touch to put the ball into the path of Hakimi and he took his own goal very well to round off a successful afternoon for Dortmund.
In a game where no Dortmund player really put a foot wrong in the game but despite his goal, Axel Witsel was quiet. The Belgian gave the ball away a few times in the first half, almost giving Hannover a scoring opportunity on one occasion.
Starting XI: Esser (6), Ostrzolek (6),Wimmer (5), Akpoguma (5), Anton (6), Albornoz (5), Fossum (7), Bakalorz (7), Sarenren-Bazee (6), Müller (6), Weydandt (5).
Substitutions: Asano (6), Dierssen (6), Hadzic (N/A).
Dortmund travel to Frankfurt next weekend as they continue their domination of the Bundesliga this season. Hannover host RB Leipzig and could well be looking at a managerial change before their next match.