Niclas Füllkrug nets hat-trick as Borussia Dortmund beat Bochum to move into the Bundesliga top four

Niclas Füllkrug
Niclas Füllkrug / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Borussia Dortmund continued their strong start to 2024 as a hat-trick from Niclas Füllkrug helped them overcome the challenge of VfL Bochum.

It wasn't pretty by any means, but Borussia Dortmund did just about enough to secure the three points in their Ruhr Derby clash against VfL Bochum. Niclas Füllkrug was the hero for the Black and Yellows, scoring his first hat-trick for the club to cancel out Nico Schlotterbeck's own goal and seal a vital win for his side.

Niclas Füllkrug
Borussia Dortmund v VfL Bochum 1848 - Bundesliga / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

With Marco Reus and Julian Brandt sidelined due to illness, Edin Terzic decided to change formation and went with a two-striker system. Youssoufa Moukoko got a well deserved shot in the starting XI, while Jadon Sancho made his return to the Westfalenstadion, two and a half years after his move to Manchester United.

Borussia Dortmund made a dream start to the game and took the lead with their very first opportunity. Niclas Füllkrug scored from the spot after Donyell Malen was fouled inside the box by Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann after just two minutes.

The early goal allowed Borussia Dortmund to bide their time and play with a bit more patience in the build-up. There wasn't much else in terms of clear cut chances for BVB in the first-half, although Ian Maatsen and Marcel Sabitzer did force relatively straightforward saves from Riemann.

Nico Schlotterbeck
Nico Schlotterbeck / LEON KUEGELER/GettyImages

Bochum got into some good positions as well, but lacked the quality in attack to be able to take advantage. However, Borussia Dortmund gifted their Ruhr rivals a route back into the game on the stroke of half-time as horrible miscommunication between Alexander Meyer and Nico Schlotterbeck resulted in an own-goal.

The second-half was more of the same, with Borussia Dortmund finding it difficult to find a way past the Bochum defence. But they got their lead back in the 72nd minute as Füllkrug headed Marcel Sabitzer's cross into the back of the net.

Niclas Füllkrug
Niclas Füllkrug / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

As Bochum searched for a late equaliser, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens was fouled inside the box on the counter-attack and Borussia Dortmund were awarded their second penalty of the game. Füllkrug stepped up once again to complete his hat-trick and make sure of the three points.

Three wins in three in 2024, and Borussia Dortmund are back in the Bundesliga top four. But Edin Terzic will know that his side is still very much a work in progress. Next up for BVB is a trip to Heidenheim, another team they will very much fancy their chances against.