Dortmund snapped their eight league match winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Mainz on Tuesday. The match was the first featuring new manager Peter Stoeger and was his first win in the Bundesliga as a manager since the last matchday of the previous season with Cologne, oddly also against Mainz. Dortmund also kept their first clean sheet since Matchday Five and for the moment return to a top-four spot in the table.
Despite his penchant for the 4-4-2, Stoeger lined his starting XI up in a familiar 4-3-3. At centreback, he returned to the Sokratis and Omar Toprak pairing. Marc Bartra sat and Toljan returned at fullback. Kagawa, Weigl, and Guerreiro manned the midfield while up front Yarmolenko and Pulisic flanked Aubameyang.
The familiar tactical line-up almost yielded a familiar early result. Suat Sedar had a great chance early in the match with a shot from distance that hit off the crossbar and over the net. Seven minutes later he had another chance after receiving a header from Emil Berggreen but again put the shot high. Mainz looked like the better side for most of the first half and held a majority of the possession, with BVB creating a few chances with the speed of Auba behind the defence.
The second half belonged to the visitors, however. In the 55th minute, Shinji Kagawa put a free kick near the post that Toprak headed into the keeper. The deflection fell to Sokratis who slammed the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead. Guerreiro could have doubled the lead soon after when he received a back-heel pass from Yarmolenko but his shot went directly into the keeper. Both sides had chances but maybe not better than Kagawa in the 79th minute. Again it was Yarmolenko who found Kagawa going towards the net but the Japanese international’s right-footed shot was barely deflected away off the keeper’s legs.
Dortmund sealed the match minutes before the final whistle. On a Burki kick, the ball came to Kagawa who headed it to Aubameyang, who had snuck behind two defenders. The Gabon international dribbled around the defence and pulled the keeper out of his net when he found Kagawa running to the back post, where he finished easily. The relief on the players’ faces after the match was apparent.
Dortmund will have little time to savour the victory, as they return to action Saturday at home against Hoffenheim.