• Reuters

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Visiting Borussia Dortmund crushed Schalke 4-0 in their Ruhr valley derby on Saturday with two goals from Erling Haaland, earning their first win in three league matches and a big shot of confidence in their battle for a top-four finish.

Dortmund, which has won two of their last seven league matches and is at risk of missing out on Champions League soccer next season, struck twice before halftime.

They have now made it two wins in a row this week after also beating Sevilla in Spain 3-2 in their Champions League round-of-16 first leg.

“We wanted to put down a marker,” said Dortmund midfielder Emre Can. “Everyone knows what this game means for the fans; maybe the most important one.

“If everyone goes the extra step then we are very strong. We cannot let up now and have to show it in every game. Then hopefully we can still have a successful season.”

Jadon Sancho pounced on a Benjamin Stambouli mistake to race through and score in the 42nd minute. The 20-year-old became the youngest in Bundesliga history to reach the 35-goal mark.

Haaland then spectacularly took off inside the box and connected in mid air with a Sancho chip to score with a sideways bicycle kick, leaving substitute keeper Michael Langer frozen to the spot.

Schalke did not have a single shot on target in the first half but battled back after the break, hit the post with Suat Serdar in the 51st and had another good chance with Matthew Hoppe.

It was the visitors, however, who scored again and killed off the game on the hour with Marco Reus playing a quick one-two with Raphael Guerreiro and the latter drilling in their third goal. Haaland then bagged his 17th league goal with a tap-in in the 79th.

Dortmund is sixth on 36 points, six behind fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt. The top four teams automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League’s group stage.

Schalke remain anchored in last place on nine points.

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