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Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund Hosts Mainz

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Fingers crossed there’s no repeat performance of last week

Sporting Clube de Portugal v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund will look to put last week’s disappointing draw against Werder Bremen in the rear-view mirror when they host Mainz on Saturday at 9:30 am EST from the Westfalenstadion.

I can’t make heads or tails of this team. One week they’re looking like true title contenders when they smack around teams like Leverkusen or Stuttgart, the next they look so incompetent and bland that you think they’re mired in mediocrity or worse. That’s what it looked like against Bayern, against Schalke, and against Bremen last week. It may be tactics, it may be mental preparation, it may be some other third thing, but for whatever reason Dortmund haven’t performed in the big matches aside from the Atalanta games and against Leverkusen. It’s worrying with two huge matches left in the season and a chance to finish in second on the line for both of them, especially with Schalke dropping points left and right since they pantsed a couple weeks ago.

A win here moves Dortmund into second and further guarantees a Champions League berth. For Mainz, they probably need this win more than we do as it helps greatly in their odds of avoiding relegation or at least the promotion/relegation playoff spot currently occupied by Wolfsburg. Last week’s shocking 3-0 win over RB Leipzig was one of their few positive results in the last month, and just their second win in the last two months after their 2-0 win over fellow relegation candidate Freiburg. I think they’re ripe for the plundering as they still appear to be

It’s a good looking line-up, especially with Sancho-Pulisic-Philipp up front with Reus-Götze-Weigl in center midfield, but as we learned yesterday it doesn’t really matter the players or formation used as it does the tactics. If these guys can play like we all know they can, and Stöger doesn’t make any stupid subs (seriously, how is Schurrle still getting minutes with all the evidence available of him being cooked?), then they should roll past Mainz. However, if Stögerball comes back and there’s no clear offensive tactic, then expect a draw or a loss.

I’m hopeful for a 2-0 win over Mainz Saturday morning, but I’m not willing to mark it as a guarantee.