With the Bundesliga title wrapped up and the rain coming down in buckets on a stormy Wednesday night, Borussia Dortmund had little to play for against Mainz 05, and it showed. Despite a decent start, BVB eventually fell behind 1-0 to Mainz and never seemed interested in fighting back. The lead eventually doubled to 2-0, and BVB couldn’t muster a response. Mainz, who were desperate for a vital three points in their race to avoid relegation, put in a full 90 minute effort, and undoubtedly deserve the result.
The match started pretty well, with BVB enjoying the lion’s share of the possession. BVB had several good spells in the first 30 minutes, but had a hard time creating chances in dangerous areas. Mainz’s center backs did a good job preventing BVB from feeding the ball to Erling Håland, and Danny Latza and Jonathan Burkhardt put on a clinic in midfield, stopping any buildup through the middle from BVB and forcing Dortmund to play down the flanks. The former had a masterclass defensive performance, with five interceptions and two clearances.
Unfortunately, Mainz would strike first, on what was undeniably a beautiful team goal. Mainz worked it out to the flank to Jean-Philippe Mateta, who whipped in a beautiful cross to Burkhardt, who headed it into the net with expert precision. It was a pretty goal, but BVB’s defense also has to be called into question. Raphael Guerreiro was caught napping during the buildup, and had to sprint to try to catch up with Mateta. Unfortunately, by the time he reached him, the Frenchman had already delivered his cross.
The first half ended 1-0, and the second half started in equally depressing fashion. Mainz got an early chance to double the lead, when in the 47th minute Lukasz Piszczek brought down Latza in the box after a save from Bürki bounced right in front of Latza. Mateta stepped up to the spot and effortlessly stroked the ball into the top right corner after sending Bürki the wrong way.
With the score set at 2-0 and with little other than pride to play for, BVB didn’t seem too interested in trying to get back into the game. Other than a few long shots, Dortmund didn’t create any major chances in the second half to get back into the game. The match ended 2-0, and Mainz were jubilant, having effectively secured their spot in the Bundesliga next season.
It was a feckless performance from Borussia Dortmund. Even though the title race is over, BVB still aren’t guaranteed a second-place finish, with RB Leipzig still chomping at Dortmund’s heals. Ironically, BVB were bailed out by Leipzig, who capitulated a 2-0 lead against Fortuna Düsseldorf, who also did a great deal to secure their spot in the relegation playoff spot. Whether or not BVB finish second, and land a coveted spot in pot 2 of the Champions League draw, will likely be decided this weekend when Borussia Dortmund face off against RB Leipzig. They will need a much better performance than today if they expect to win.