Borussia Dortmund put aside the circus surrounding Jurgen Klopp’s future to clinch a comfortable 3-0 Bundesliga win over struggling Paderborn and keep their late UEFA Europa League surge on track.
Klopp revealed on Wednesday that he will depart the club at the end of the season, bringing to an end a seven-year success-laden spell at Signal Iduna Park and his team responded with a professional display on Saturday.
The former Mainz coach’s time at Dortmund has seen the club win two Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal and reach the UEFA Champions League final, though for prolonged periods here his team typified the erratic nature of their play this term.
Despite dominating and producing some fine football, Dortmund saw a host of chances go begging in the first half, a familiar source of frustration this season for the side who began the weekend 10th.
But, almost like the flick of a switch, the home side found their range right at the start of the second half, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s opener followed swiftly by a delightful Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finish.
Aubameyang and Shinji Kagawa both saw goals disallowed for offside, but the Japan international eventually added the third 10 minutes from time, as Dortmund’s push for a top-six finish continues.
Dortmund showed no signs of being distracted by their coach’s recent announcement during the early exchanges, beginning the contest full of purpose and attacking intent.
It took the hosts just five minutes to craft the game’s first opportunity, as Matthias Ginter – back in the side after impressing for the second team last week – forced Lukas Kruse into a flying save with a shot from 30 yards.
The goalkeeper was rendered helpless for Dortmund’s next chance in the 11th minute, but luckily for Paderborn, Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ header went just wide of the top-right corner.
Ilkay Gundogan saw his low drive agonisingly miss the target a few moments later, and then Aubameyang went close twice in quick succession, blasting straight at the goalkeeper in the 33rd minute before Kruse wonderfully tipped away his audacious chip.
Mkhitaryan was similarly unsuccessful with 37 minutes on the clock, skewing wide from 12 yards after a clever Gundogan pass.
Dortmund’s first-half profligacy soon evaporated from their system, however, as the opening attack of the second period brought a deserved lead.
Aubameyang raced on to Jakub Blaszczykowski’s throughball on the right flank and the striker’s pinpoint cross was nodded home emphatically by Mkhitaryan.
Aubameyang was integral again seven minutes later as Dortmund doubled their advantage, clipping an exquisite chip over Kruse as he dived at the Gabon forward’s feet.
Any chance of a spectacular late collapse was vanquished in the 80th minute, as Kagawa collected Mkhitaryan’s pass, burst past Rafa Lopez and slotted a composed left-footed effort past Kruse, capping off Dortmund’s brilliant second-half display.
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