Bottom-of-the-table Mainz travel to Dortmund this Saturday for a test against BVB, who will be hoping to use their momentum from a commanding second-half victory against RB Leipzig to propel themselves to another win. The game will kick off at 9:30 ET.
Mainz fell behind Schalke in the table last weekend, as the Smurfs picked up their first win of the millennium. Having gone winless in their last eight games, Mainz now sitting in bottom spot. They will be motivated to snatch a win, as the prospect of remaining in dead-last does not sit pretty for a team who have not dropped to the 2nd division since 2006.
The scoreline favored Mainz the last time these teams met, with goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jonathan Burkhardt and SIX yellow cards from a dejected Dortmund side. Die Schwarzgelben were sloppy despite having 70% possession, giving away needless fouls in a cagey game where tempers flared.
Dortmund have invariably struggled this season against teams that sit deep and allow the bulk of possession to go against them. Tomorrow will be another test of this sort for Edin Terzic, who will be hoping to show that his tactical adjustments can get his team past tricky, defensive sides.
We could see some light rotation from Terzic in this match both to accommodate the loss of Axel Witsel and to rest some well-worked legs. That said, with no midweek games this week, the starting 11 from last weekend may be raring to go again.
Opting for Brandt instead of Reus would be a bit optimistic, considering Reus has not missed a league game since Terzic took charge. Reus is also coming off a fine performance where he laid on two assists against the energy drinks. Still, given the renewed form of Jadon Sancho and the current status of the opponent, Terzic may see this as the right chance to give Reus a break and see if Brandt can find some rhythm as a part of the starting XI.
With 4 yellow cards going into the matchday, another could see Delaney ruled out against Leverkusen on Tuesday. This is probably not a risk Terzic is willing to take, so expect to see him rested. Can should slot in with either the freshly available Jude Bellingham or even...Dahoud? (Don’t say it too loud or it won’t happen).
As for Mainz, some sources (Transfermarkt) are reporting that starting goalkeeper Robin Zentner is out injured, which will be something to watch going into the matchday. Having opted for all of a 4-2-3-1, 4-1-2-1-2, and 3-4-1-2 in the last month, it is hard to say how Mainz will line up. This is also only the second test for new head coach Bo Svensson. Regardless, attackers such as Robin Quaison, Jonathan Burkhardt, and Jean-Philippe Mateta are not to be underestimated. If all three see the field on Saturday, Dortmund will need to be wary of the counter attack.
With the return of Erling Haaland and the uptick in form from one Jadon Sancho, Dortmund should have the attacking fluency to wiggle their way through this Mainz side. Though Dortmund should expect a deep-sitting defense, Mainz still average 2.20 goals conceded per game this season. Chances will come, and it will be on the BVB forward to take them. It will likely be down to how clinically BVB performs in front of goal to determine the outcome of the match.