Borussia Dortmund closed the gap on Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich to seven points with a comfortable 3-0 win against 10-man Hamburg, their bogey club, at Signal Iduna Park on Sunday.
The first two goals came within a six-minute period at the end of the first half, with Christian Pulisic scoring the opener by rounding off a training ground set-piece routine to give Dortmund the lead after what had been a sloppy start.
The hosts doubled their advantage when Adrian Ramos scored a terrific solo goal to give his side complete control and they were barely troubled from that point on.
Hamburg’s chances of a comeback were dealt a huge blow shortly after the interval when goalkeeper Rene Adler was dismissed for bringing down Shinji Kagawa outside the box.
Dortmund’s victory – which lifts the mood after their shock Europa League collapse at Liverpool on Thursday – was then sealed when Ramos tapped in his second in the closing stages.
Thomas Tuchel’s men had beaten Hamburg just once in their last seven meetings, but the routine win means Bruno Labbadia’s visitors – who have lost four of their last five games – are in danger of being sucked into the relegation spots. They remain just three points clear of Werder Bremen in the play-off position.
Teenagers Pulisic and Felix Passlack were handed starts as Tuchel made seven changes with an eye on Wednesday’s DFB-Pokal semi-final against Hertha Berlin.
Nicolai Muller had an early effort from which Roman Burki made an easy save, before Kagawa saw his penalty appeal rejected after going down in the box.
Muller went close again with a 25-yard drive and Ivo Ilicevic headed wide as Hamburg started the game well on top.
Substitute Sven Schipplock, on for the injured Pierre-Michel Lasogga, was presented with a fine chance after Sven Bender’s mistake but the striker delayed his shot and Mats Hummels got back superbly to snuff out the danger.
That wasted opportunity proved immediately decisive as Dortmund took the lead in the 38th minute, Pulisic scoring his first Bundesliga goal with a delightful finish.
A well-worked corner was flicked on to Pulisic by Hummels and the 17-year-old took a touch to get the ball out of his feet before planting a low shot into Adler’s bottom-right corner.
The hosts’ lead was doubled six minutes later, Ramos latching on to a Nuri Sahin ball over the top, cutting inside off the left and bending an unstoppable finish across Adler.
Passlack could have had a penalty in the first minute after the interval, but referee Marco Fritz again decided against awarding Dortmund a spot-kick.
Hamburg’s hopes of mounting a fightback were severely dented after 50 minutes when Adler clattered Kagawa just outside the box and was harshly sent off by Fritz despite multiple defenders racing back to cover.
Dortmund had failed to beat Hamburg since hammering them 6-2 at Signal Iduna Park in September 2013 and Ramos could have added a third, but a heavy touch let him down as Adler’s replacement Jaroslav Drobny narrowed the angle well.
But Hamburg had to play the last 10 minutes with nine men after Albin Ekdal suffered an injury and was unable to continue, with Ramos tucking in Dortmund’s third with four minutes to go after Drobny’s save from Kagawa’s shot had fallen into his path.