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Sancho seals hard-fought 2-0 win for Dortmund over Wolfsburg

Borussia Dortmund returned from the Bundesliga’s winter break looking like it needs another one as it struggled to beat Wolfsburg 2-0 on Sunday.

Jadon Sancho only made sure of the result on a counterattack in injury time, shrugging off defender Paulo Otávio’s challenge before firing inside the post when he just had the goalkeeper to beat.

Sancho also sent in the corner for Manuel Akanji’s breakthrough in the 66th minute, but it had been a frustrating game for Dortmund despite star striker Erling Haaland’s return from a month out with a muscle injury.

Dortmund's Jadon Sancho reacts after scoring his side's second goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, Pool)

There was a lengthy hold-up midway through the second half for a VAR check on a possible handball by Axel Witsel. The Dortmund midfielder had no time to avoid Renato Steffen’s close range header and referee Manuel Gräfe eventually allowed play to continue.

Wolfsburg had looked the more likely side to score, but there were few chances after the unscheduled break as the game was repeatedly interrupted by Gräfe’s whistle.

Dortmund had to wait until first-half injury time for its first big chance, missed by Sancho when he failed to connect properly with a rebound. There was still time before the break for Marco Reus to test Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels with a free kick.

Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, left, celebrates with Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro after scoring his side's second goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, Pool)

Casteels produced a fine one-handed save to deny Haaland after the break, but Akanji finally made the breakthrough when he powered in a header from Sancho’s corner.

The visitors pushed hard for the equalizer until Emre Can sent Sancho free after a Wolfsburg corner.

Bayern Munich was hosting struggling Mainz later, expecting a return to the top of the league with a win.

Wolfsburg's Paulo Otavio, right, and Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, left, challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, Pool)

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Dortmund's Manuel Akanji, 2nd from left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, Pool)

Dortmund's Manuel Akanji celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, Pool)

Dortmund's Erling Haaland controls the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, Pool)