WOLFSBURG • Borussia Dortmund have big-name stars in Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, but it was Raphael Guerreiro who has hit the ground running since the German Bundesliga resumed last week amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Portuguese wing back scored the opening goal in a 2-0 away win against Wolfsburg at an empty Volkswagen Arena yesterday, making it three goals in two matches.
He had scored a brace last week when Dortmund beat Schalke 4-0 at their Signal Iduna Park ground.
Before the league was suspended in March, the 26-year-old had gone three games without a goal.
In a post-match interview, Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney said: "All the goals were pretty.
"We saw today that we still had to put in a big effort to win. I think it's a good thing for our team to know that nothing is for free and we always need to put out a 100 per cent (effort) because the Bundesliga is very competitive."
In a dull affair played behind closed doors to slow the spread of the Covid-19 disease, Dortmund went ahead just past the half-hour mark when Thorgan Hazard fed Guerreiro in the Wolfsburg box and the latter tapped into an empty net.
Achraf Hakimi then ensured Dortmund clinched all three points 12 minutes from the final whistle when he lashed the ball into the bottom left corner from a Sancho pass.
Sancho has recorded 16 assists this season, the most alongside Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller. He is now also Dortmund's record holder for most assists in a single season.
Wolfsburg were then down to 10 men just four minutes later, when Felix Klaus was sent off for a bad tackle following a VAR (video assistant referee) decision.
Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji said afterwards: "It was hard work, we had to defend well for the entire match.
Goals (14 scored, 16 assists) Jadon Sancho has been involved in for Dortmund this season.
"We were all very happy when we scored the second goal. Regardless, we didn't allow much defensively over 90 minutes."
With Dortmund not playing by their own lofty standards, coach Lucien Favre would rue the absence of his influential captain Marco Reus.
The forward has scored 11 goals and has six assists in 19 appearances this season but has been out of action since February with a muscle injury.
Favre said on Friday he is still hopeful that the 30-year-old could play again this term despite reports that his campaign is over.
Dortmund's victory meant they now have 57 points, just a point behind leaders Bayern (58), who hosted Eintracht Frankfurt later yesterday. The result of that match was not available at press time.
Favre's men will now look ahead to Tuesday, when they welcome Bayern to the Signal Iduna Park in the "German Clasico".
Separately, Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc confirmed yesterday that Mario Gotze, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, will leave at the end of the season.
In yesterday afternoon's other matches, Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1, 10-man Werder Bremen defeated Freiburg 1-0, and Paderborn drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim.