Borussia Dortmund set their sights back on the Bundesliga as they take on 1.FSV Mainz 05 at the Coface Arena on Sunday.
Following their Euphoric triumph in the DFB Pokal in midweek, Borussia Dortmund will look to continue on their quest to finish in the top four as lock horns with in-form 1.FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday.
Although the Black and Yellows are currently fourth in the league table, it is a must-win game, knowing any slip up will allow Eintracht Frankfurt to re-enter the top four. A win, on the other hand, could make them favourites to seal Champions League football next season, especially with VfL Wolfsburg facing a tough test against RB Leipzig on the weekend.
Dortmund, though, are currently the most in-form team in the Bundesliga, having won five back to back matches since their defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in early April. They also secured their fifth DFB Pokal title in midweek, with a sublime 4-1 victory over RB Leipzig in the final third.
While their opponent Mainz do not exactly have much to play for, they can officially secure their top-flight status next season with a win over Dortmund. Under the leadership of Bo Svensson, the carnival club has proved that they are capable of pulling upsets – having emerged as one of the best performing teams in the Ruckrunde.
Incidentally, Mainz also face Wolfsburg in their final match of the campaign, meaning their performances in these next couple of matches could go a long way in dictating the fate of Bundesliga’s top-four race. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial encounter at the Coface Arena this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
1.FSV Mainz 05
Mainz served Dortmund a huge favour last weekend when they managed to hold off Eintracht Frankfurt – allowing the Black and Yellows to enter the top four. This time around, they will be keen on snatching points off BVB themselves, after successfully doing so in the reverse fixture.
— Mainz 05 English (@Mainz05en) May 14, 2021
One of Mainz’s biggest assets is their counter-attacking prowess. The addition of Danny da Costa and Dominik Kohr from Frankfurt have turned out to be a masterstroke from Svensson, with one adding creativity out wide while the other has played a vital role in creating turnovers in the middle of the park alongside Leandro Barreiro.
Speaking of Barreiro, the young midfielder is sort of the surprise package for Mainz. He is capable of driving forward and scoring goals, being particularly effective during the late stages of the game.
The Mainz attack, though, will mostly rely on the services of the free-flowing offensive trifecta of Jonathan Burkardt, Robin Quaison and Karim Onisiwo, who starred in the draw with Frankfurt last weekend.
Defensively, the pacy Jeremiah St. Juste will be responsible for taking care of the threat of Jadon Sancho while Alexander Hack and captain Moussa Niakhate hope to keep up with the likes of Marco Reus and Erling Haaland in their deep defensive line.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Zentner; St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate; da Costa, Barreiro, Kohr, Mwene; Quaison, Burkardt; Onisiwo
Hungover from the DFB Cup triumph in midweek along with two straining back to back games against Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic will have to make some key decisions in regards to his team selections.
Lukasz Piszczek is one of the main candidates to be rested after playing five matches in three weeks at the age of 35. Unfortunately, with Mateu Morey injured and Thomas Meunier not seen as a viable option, the veteran might have to continue at right-back, given the importance of this fixture.
🎙 Edin Terzic:
“He helped take this club to the next level. He deserves a farewell game in front of a sold out house. We'll have to wait a little longer, but I hope Lukasz gets that at some point." pic.twitter.com/Ua974mheaF
— DFB-POKAL CHAMPIONS 2021 (@BlackYellow) May 15, 2021
Terzic should also persist with the likes of Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels and Raphael Guerreiro while Roman Burki should continue to deputise for the injured Marwin Hitz in goal.
In midfield, Dortmund might want to switch to a 4-2-3-1 in order to make room for Giovanni Reyna in the attacking department. As such, Mahmoud Dahoud and Jude Bellingham could operate in the double-pivot, with the latter acting as the primary ball-carrier alongside Marco Reus, in a slightly advanced role.
Dahoud, on the other hand, might have to play in a deeper role. His ability to distribute possession could be critical once again, particularly when it comes to releasing runners like Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, who will once again spearhead the Borussia Dortmund attack this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Dahoud; Sancho, Reus, Reyna; Haaland
- Mainz head coach Bo Svensson has claimed 30 points from his first 18 matches as Mainz coach, losing only four times. His first point came against Dortmund in the reverse fixture.
- Karim Onisiwo and Robin Quaison are Mainz’s joint leading scorers in 2020/21 with four goals apiece.
- Nine matches without defeat is Mainz’s best-ever single-season streak, and currently the longest unbeaten run of any Bundesliga team.
- Borussia Dortmund have won all 10 Bundesliga games in 2020/21 featuring Lukasz Piszczek.
- Erling Haaland (20) and Jadon Sancho (21) are the youngest players in Bundesliga history to reach 38 goals.
Player to Watch
Erling Haaland has been on fire for Borussia Dortmund over the past couple of weeks, securing a brace in three of his last four matches in all competitions. His performance against RB Leipzig, in particular, was a joy to behold as he grounded Dayot Upamecano before putting the ball past Peter Gulacsi for BVB’s second goal.
Against Mainz, Haaland’s ability to find the back of the net coupled with his physical prowess could be useful in dealing with the well oiled defensive unit of Svensson.
The Norwegian’s exploits in the Bundesliga away matches has already been well documented, with the forward netting 16 of his 25 Bundesliga goals so far this term away from home. The record for single-season away goals – currently shared by Jupp Heynckes and Timo Werner – is 17.
1.FSV Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund are in unstoppable form at the moment, especially with Reus, Sancho and Haaland finding their form at the right moment. Die Schwarbgelben may find some problems defensively, but their recent cup success should also serve as a major boost in confidence – making them favourites to seal all three points against Mainz this weekend.