Scuffle and stabbing: BVB wins disaster kick in Mainz

melee and stabbing
BVB wins disaster kick in Mainz

With a win in Mainz, Borussia Dortmund can come within four points of Bayern. In the catch-up game of the Bundesliga, the spectators in the sold-out stadium see an uneventful fight at a partly desolate level. In the end, Dortmund’s late winning goal is somehow deserved.

Erling Haaland ran towards the fan curve with his arms raised, match winner Axel Witsel clenched his fists before both hugged each other deeply. Borussia Dortmund avoided a blunder in the Bundesliga almost at the last minute and reduced the gap to record champions FC Bayern to four points. Witsel scored the goal in the 87th minute in the arduous 1-0 (0-0) at corona-plagued FSV Mainz 05 and thus redeemed the team of head coach Marco Rose after a weak performance.

“Sometimes you can’t play nice football, you just have to win,” said Witsel on DAZN: “We knew it would never be easy here, it was a really difficult game.” It wasn’t the nicest game from either side, Emre Can agreed. “When you score the winning goal so late, it’s all the better. The victory tastes very good,” he said after the team had celebrated in front of the fans who had traveled with them. “Away win, away win,” echoed the ranks. With the recent minimalism in the 1-0 win against Arminia Bielefeld and now in Mainz, Dortmund got back on track in front of national coach Hansi Flick and DFB President Bernd Neuendorf.

Top striker Haaland was only substituted on again after an injury break. The Norwegian is still a long way from his gala form from the season so far, as was also evident in the catch-up game. Mainz defied the external circumstances after a two-week break due to corona, but was not rewarded with a draw in front of 25,000 spectators. It was Mainz’s first home defeat since October last year – but the fans gave them appreciative applause. “In the end, this one lucky shot came. It was actually going to be a draw,” said FSV sports director Martin Schmidt.

Hummels was missing after Corona

At the unusual time for the Bundesliga on Wednesday evening at 6.30 p.m., there was a duel that both clubs would have liked to have played on a different date. The people of Mainz, because most of them came fresh from quarantine after 20 corona cases (14 active people). Dortmund, because they had actually planned the Europa League date on Thursday before they failed at Glasgow Rangers a few weeks ago and carelessly squandered the next title chance after the DFB Cup and Champions League.

Without the sick Marco Reus and without Mats Hummels and initially without top scorer Haaland, BVB did not look good in the first half. In the absence of many regular players, not only was there a lack of pace and ideas, but also the necessary clout to pose serious problems for the hosts in the first place.

A single 50-meter solo by Mainz’s Anton Stach (16th) created more of a surprise than Borussia did in the entire first 45 minutes. Stach was only stopped by Emre Can, who built up in front of the BVB fan curve after an outstanding tackle and was celebrated. Jonathan Burkardt (27′) had another good chance for the Rheinhessen, but it was a goalless draw before the break. Instead, there was only a scuffle and a lot of hustle and bustle, but referee Sascha Stegemann refrained from more drastic consequences.

After the break, the picture was initially the same: Dortmund seemed inhibited, a Stach shot (51st) went just wide of the long goal corner after a sophisticated corner variant. Then Rose brought his top striker Haaland for Marius Wolf, it was a substitution that was long overdue from BVB’s point of view.

But Mainz attacked unimpressed, Silvan Widmer (60th) and Karim Onisiwo (61st) missed further opportunities for a possible lead. Goalkeeper Robin Zentner parried Haaland’s first shot relatively easily (68th). After that, not much happened – until Witsel scored shortly before the end and Julian Brandt had a huge chance in the five-minute stoppage time.

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