After struggling against Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Dortmund will be desperate to improve their performance when they face 1.FSV Mainz on Wednesday.

The Englishsche Woche in the Bundesliga is set to get underway this midweek as we near the end of the 2019/20 edition of the German top flight. Bayern Munich are just a win away from sealing the league title, but second-placed Borussia Dortmund will still be hopeful when they host 1.FSV Mainz on Wednesday.

The Black and Yellows are currently trailing Bayern by seven points, with just three matches remaining. And while their title hopes are almost over, sealing all three points this midweek could be crucial, especially for Lucien Favre, who is facing an uncertain future at the club.

The Swiss mastermind has faced a lot of criticism for his side’s inconsistencies and failure to keep up with the Bavarians. Hence, ending the campaign on a positive note could be essential in order to prevent the board from looking for a replacement.

Mainz, on the other hand, are still being tagged relegation candidates heading into this fixture. The 05-ers are currently standing 15th in the league title, leading Fortuna Dusseldorf (16th) and Werder Bremen (17th) by just three points.

Just like Mainz, both of these teams are also set to face a stiff challenge this midweek as they come up against RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich respectively. That means the visitors will be eyeing at least a point from this game as they look to get out of the relegation scrap.

And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will be taking a closer look at both these sides ahead of this crucial match-up in the Bundesliga on Wednesday.

Tactics & Team News

Borussia Dortmund

With very little chances left of sealing the Bundesliga title, we can actually expect Favre to make some alterations to the core of the side this midweek, especially with Dortmund due to face RB Leipzig on the weekend.

Leonardo Balerdi might be given a rare start, ahead of Lukasz Piszczek at centre-back. The Argentine has been pushing for a starting berth for quite some time and could start against Mainz in central defence, alongside Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji.

No changes are expected in midfield, however, with the in-form Emre Can partnering Axel Witsel in the double-pivot. Even the wing-back duo of Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi are expected to retain their place in the starting lineup, although Mateu Morey is a possible alternative on the right flank.

In attack, Marco Reus is still not fit to make his return to the pitch. But, Erling Haaland is definitely a favourite to start this game, ahead of Thorgan Hazard and Mario Gotze in the number nine slot. The Norwegian scored the all-important winner against Fortuna Dusseldorf, who kept check of the mighty Dortmund attack really well.

Julian Brandt has endured a difficult run of form of late and might be benched this midweek. That should pave the way for Giovanni Reyna to receive a rare start alongside Jadon Sancho in the wider attacking slots.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Akanji, Hummels, Balerdi; Hakimi, Can, Witsel, Guerreiro; Sancho, Haaland, Reyna.

1.FSV Mainz 05

Mainz are coming on the back of a narrow defeat to FC Augsburg in their last match. Achim Beierlorzer’s men attempted 18 shots on goal, hitting the target five times.

But, the carnival outfit is likely to take up a more defensive approach against a Dortmund side, which has scored the second-highest number of goals in the Bundesliga this term. There will be one change in defence, though, with Ridle Baku coming in at right-back, at the expense of Philipp Mwene.

The rest of the four-man backline will consist of Daniel Brosinski operating on the opposite flank, with Moussa Niakhate and Jeremiah St. Juste marshalling the central defence.

In midfield, the combination of Danny Latza and Leandro Barreiro has worked well. And these two hard-working individuals should look to replicate Fortuna’s tactics of offering the two Dortmund midfielders with no space to work with.

But, at the same time, Mainz’s offensive players like Levin Oztunali, Jean-Paul Boetius and Robin Quaison aren’t exactly ideal players to execute such rigid first line of press. They do, however, have a definite target man in the shape of Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Muller; Baku, St. Juste, Niakhate, Brosinski; Barreiro, Latza; Oztunali, Boetius, Quaison; Mateta.

Key Stats

  • No player has had a hand in more goals this term than Sancho, the young Englishman having laid on 16 alongside the 17 he has scored himself.
  • Haaland has scored his 11 goals at a rate of one every 72 minutes since his winter transfer from Red Bull Salzburg.
  • Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki did not have to make a single save when Die Schwarz-Gelben won December’s reverse fixture 4-0.
  • Both teams covered 78.6 miles in the corresponding fixture last season, which Dortmund won 2-1. That remains a club record for each.
  • Robin Quaison is Mainz’s top scorer with 12, just five fewer than Sancho, in spite of playing for a club at the other end of the table.

Player to Watch

Giovanni Reyna

As we near the end of the campaign, we might see more and more young players being given the opportunity to perform at the highest level of football. Reyna is one such player destined to get a first-start within the next three games.

And given Mainz’s struggles this campaign, they could be an ideal opposition for the youngster to showcase his talents. Dortmund could already be preparing for life without Sancho next season, meaning this could be an exciting opportunity for the American teenage sensation to make an impact and gain a more prominent place in the squad.

From a tactical perspective, Reyna’s pace and urgency should cause problems for a Mainz defence that lack the technical prowess to deal with an opponent of a high calibre. Hence, he is definitely someone worth keeping an eye on, in this fixture.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 1.FSV Mainz 05

Borussia Dortmund haven’t been in great form of late, often struggling to break the shackles of the opposition and relying on late goals. However, they shouldn’t face similar problems against a Mainz side, which has conceded 63 goals this season. We expect a comfortable 2-0 win for the Black and Yellows.

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