FSV Mainz vs Borussia Dortmund: Preview and Prediction

FSV Mainz will hope to secure a relegation play-off spot with two games remaining, as Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund come visiting.

Bo Henriksen will aim to continue his side’s good form in the league as FSV Mainz host Borussia Dortmund in a season-defining encounter. Mainz are still a point off safety, but they are now probably aiming to secure their spot in the relegation play-off spot, as automatic safety may have got out of their hands despite only the slender disadvantage on the table.

They might expect 15th-placed Union Berlin to beat Koln at the weekend, and in that scenario, Mainz will confirm their play-off spot. However, should Union Berlin lose or drop points over the weekend and Mainz are fortunate enough to beat Borussia Dortmund, they can indeed change things around and even aim for automatic safety with one game to go.

Mainz have seen an upturn in form since losing 8-1 to Bayern Munich in the early days of March. They have since stitched together a seven-game unbeaten run, including three wins and four draws, although they have drawn their last three in the league. While their fans will feel a bit pessimistic about beating a side like Dortmund, there is still the odd chance to dream about.

Borussia Dortmund will come into this clash with their heads held high after beating PSG in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals and booking their place in the Wembley final. They secured a 1-0 victory in Paris, courtesy of a second-half Mats Hummels header, and will now face Real Madrid in the European showdown.

Dortmund are in a relaxed position despite their rather underwhelming league campaign this season. With Germany and Italy winning five Champions League spots each for next season, the Black and Yellows are guaranteed a place in the competition, as sixth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt will not catch up with two games remaining.

Edin Terzic will want to maintain the momentum of their cause and will demand a stellar performance from his team. But he could rest many of his critical stars in order to keep them fresh for Wembley. They have nothing to gain in the Bundesliga apart from positions, as they can still mathematically overtake RB Leipzig in the standings and move into fourth with two games remaining in the league season.

Team News & Tactics


Mainz are still missing out on players aheads of this late run in, with Maxim Leitsch sidelined with a groin problem, while there are doubts with Karim Onisiwo, who missed the draw with Heidenheim with a problem.

There are some positives with Nadiem Amiri and Brajan Gruda returning from their suspensions, although Phillipp Mwene is still out as he has one more game to serve on the sidelines.

There was also a positive development with Stefan Bell, who has now recovered from his myocarditis issue and returned to training. He may still be well behind the match sharpness needed to start or play minutes at the moment.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Zentner; Kohr, Van den Berg, Hanche-Olsen; Widmer, Barreiro, Amiri, Caci; Gruda, Lee, Burkardt

Borussia Dortmund

Edin Terzic has a few fitness-related concerns ahead of this visit to Mainz. Only Ramy Bensebaini and Julien Duranville are doubts, with the former unlikely to feature at the weekend as he may lack the match fitness even if declared fit ahead of the game.

Bensebaini’s potential absence will see the manager once again use Ian Maatsen as a left-back, and he will likely do so for the remaining matches in the league season. There could be some changes to the backline from the one that kept a clean sheet in Paris.

Nico Schlotterbeck might keep his place, but Terzic could bring Niklas Sule and Marius Wolf back into his backline in place of Mats Hummels and Julian Ryerson, respectively. Similarly, Felix Nmecha could replace Marcel Sabitzer in central midfield and start alongside Emre Can there. Terzic will overhaul his attacking setup altogether and rest his key starters.

Hence, the Mainz clash could allow the Borussia manager to use some of his fringe stars, including Marco Rues, who will want to start his penultimate game for the club as he is set for a departure in the summer. Donyell Malen will replace Jadon Sancho on their right, while Jamie Bynoe-Gittens will play on the left as Youssoufa Moukoko is pencilled in to lead the line.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Wolf, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Maatsen; Nmecha, Can; Malen, Reus, Bynoe-Gittens; Moukoko

Key Stats

  • Mainz are unbeaten in their last seven Bundesliga games.
  • Mainz have drawn their last three matches in the Bundesliga.
  • Mainz have lost seven of their last eight home encounters with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
  • Borussia Dortmund have won their last six away matches against FSV Mainz in all competitions.
  • Borussia Dortmund have not lost to Mainz in the Bundesliga since September 2014.

Player to Watch

Marco Reus

Embed from Getty Images

The legendary attacking midfielder will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season and will be expected to start his penultimate game for the club on Saturday. Fans around the world have wanted the German to achieve success in what has been described as an unlucky player who missed out on significant honours.

Borussia Dortmund fans, in particular, will earnestly pray for Reus to lift the Champions League trophy later in the month. But for now, they will want to enjoy the departing star in the two remaining league games. Hence, for the playmaker, it is a great time to showcase what he can still do on the pitch, as he will personally hope for a top-notch performance against Mainz.


FSV Mainz 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

On paper, Borussia Dortmund should be the favourites to take three points off their relegation-threatened rivals, but the scenarios are different entering into this weekend. The Black and Yellows are under no pressure whatsoever to perform at the highest levels, as Edin Terzic will only aim to keep his players sharp and, more importantly, fit ahead of the Champions League final.

FSV Mainz, on the other hand, have everything to play for, especially as they are still hoping for an automatic safety spot. They might have a five-point lead over 17th-placed Koln. But the tables can still turn ahead of the last game of the season. Hence, Bo Henriksen’s side will give it all and probably end up earning at least a point against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

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