COLOGNE, Germany — Jadon Sancho is picking up where he left off at Borussia Dortmund.
Sancho won a penalty in a 4-0 win over Cologne in the Bundesliga on Saturday, his first start for Dortmund since 2021. He arrived on loan from Manchester United last week, after having not played since August, and set up a goal against Darmstadt two days later.
Sancho’s footwork to win the penalty was one of the highlights of a day which saw leader Bayer Leverkusen beat Leipzig in stoppage time in a gripping game, and fans protesting with silence and golden foil-wrapped chocolate coins.
Donyell Malen gave Dortmund the lead in the 12th as a Dortmund corner routine fooled the Cologne defense, giving the Dutch forward time and space to hit a low shot.
Sancho won a penalty in the 56th when he dribbled at the Cologne defense and drew right back Rasmus Carstensen into pulling at his shirt. Niclas Füllkrug stepped up to score the penalty. Sancho’s role in the Dortmund forward line brought back memories of his last season in Germany in 2020-21, when he scored 16 goals and set up 20 more in all competitions before moving to United.
Malen scored the third soon after thanks to decisive play from another Dortmund loan signing from the Premier League. Full back Ian Maatsen, newly arrived from Chelsea, won the ball in his own half and swung a long pass for Malen to run through the Cologne half and score.
Sancho went off for fellow English player Jamie Bynoe-Gittens in the 66th. Bynoe-Gittens set up a goal in stoppage time with a cross for Youssoufa Moukoko to score Dortmund’s fourth.
Dortmund stays fifth with the victory. Cologne is 17th in the 18-team league and winless in its past five games.
LEVERKUSEN WINS THRILLER
Bayer Leverkusen won in stoppage time for the second game in a row.
Piero Hincapie’s late goal at a corner gave his team a 3-2 victory over Leipzig. Leverkusen is seven points ahead of second-place Bayern Munich, which has played two fewer games
Leverkusen’s unbeaten run seemed set to end in its 27th game of the season when Leipzig led 1-0 at halftime after a flat performance from Xabi Alonso’s team, but Leverkusen twice leveled the score in the second half before Hincapie’s late winner.
Xavi Simons’ skill gave Leipzig the lead in the seventh minute as he flicked the ball up, turned and hit it past goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky. Leverkusen had a further setback when influential right back Jeremie Frimpong went off injured, but his replacement Nathan Tella leveled the score just after the break off Alejandro Grimaldo’s cross.
After that, corners decided the game as Leverkusen first gave the ball away at their own corner, allowing Leipzig to launch a lightning counter that ended with Loïs Openda scoring for a 2-1 lead.
Soon after, though, Jonathan Tah headed Leverkusen level again at a corner, and in the first minute of stoppage time, Grimaldo swung in a corner perfectly for Hincapie to meet it with his outstretched foot at the far post.
Also Saturday, Stuttgart — a surprise contender which went into the winter break third — has now started 2024 with two losses after a 1-0 defeat at Bochum.
The game was delayed for around 40 minutes at halftime amid a dispute between stadium staff and Stuttgart fans over banners which Bochum said were blocking emergency exits. Matúš Bero scored for Bochum shortly after the game resumed.
Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt let a two-goal lead slip in a 2-2 draw with local rival Darmstadt. Ten-man Freiburg beat Hoffenheim 3-2, Roland Sallai scoring the winning goal shortly after his teammate Manuel Gulde was sent off for a second booking. Heidenheim and Wolfsburg drew 1-1.
Games across Germany on Saturday were affected by fans protesting plans to sell a stake in future TV and marketing income to investors in exchange for an up-front payment.
Fans were silent for the opening 12 minutes of games as a reference to their role as the proverbial 12th player on a team. Dortmund’s game was interrupted twice as fans of both teams threw golden foil-wrapped chocolate coins onto the field.
Clubs in the top two men’s divisions narrowly voted to proceed with the sale plan last month despite long-running fan protests. The league is in talks with two private equity firms, Blackstone and CVC, and has said the share would be a maximum of 8% over 20 years.