Mainz stun Dortmund to close on Bundesliga survival
Mainz took a huge step towards securing their Bundesliga status for another season as goals from Jonathan Burkardt and Jean-Philippe Mateta saw them defeat Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park.
On Wednesday evening, Dortmund confiscated the ball in the early stages, enjoying up to 80 per cent of possession, but they failed to really trouble a well-drilled Mainz backline.
Axel Witsel had an effort blocked after being teed up by Raphael Guerreiro, while the Portugal international also had a half-chance after some neat interplay with fellow wing-back Achraf Hakimi.
Pierre Kunde had the first sniff for the visitors, but was let down by his touch inside the Dortmund area after a clever ball over the top from Danny Latza.
Burkardt should then have done better when he was released by Mateta – getting his legs in a tangle as he tried to sneak past Hakimi – but the 19-year-old made up for it just after the half-hour, angling a header beyond Roman Bürki from Ridle Baku’s inch-perfect cross to put Mainz ahead in the 33rd minute of the game, according to the official Bundesliga website.
Despite a front three of Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Erling Haaland, Dortmund continued to look toothless in attack. Emre Can came closest to a BVB equaliser before the break, but couldn’t muster enough power to head past Florian Muller from six yards out.
Things went from bad to worse for Dortmund at the start of the second half as Mainz were awarded a penalty: Karim Onisiwo unleashed a vicious long-range effort that Burki could only parry, and Lukasz Piszczek tripped Latza inside the area as he looked to get to the rebound. Seconds after forcing a fine save from Bürki himself, Mateta swept past the BVB keeper from the spot to put the relegation-threatened 05ers firmly in the driving seat in the 49th minute.
Mateta found himself one-on-one with Mats Hummels shortly afterwards, but chose to go it alone instead of squaring for a teammate and the chance went begging.
Dortmund continued to struggle in the final third, even if Brandt fired an effort just wide and Hakimi forced Muller to tip a well-struck free-kick over the bar. In the meantime Jean-Paul Boetius missed a golden opportunity to put the game to bed for Mainz, blazing over after another brilliant cross from Baku, before substitute Adam Szalai drew a one-handed save from Burki.
The visitors nevertheless held on for a precious 2-0 win, which leaves them needing two points from their last two games to ensure they’ll stay in the top flight in 2020/21.