Fourth versus bottom. BVB have stabilised under Edin Terzic. While the record in the five matches leading up to Lucien Favre’s departure was one win, two draws and two defeats, there have since been four victories in the next five games.
Dormund were the only club in the Bundesliga’s top six to win last weekend, whereas Mainz dropped to the foot of the table following their third successive loss.
With 15 rounds gone, the men from Rhenish Hesse have only six points on the board and have already lost 11 games – both negative records for the club in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund will be without Axel Witsel after the Belgian suffered injury during the first half of last weekend’s win at RB Leipzig. Without any player around him, the midfielder tore his Achilles tendon to make the 3-1 win that little bitter sweet.
Mainz will without Edimilson Fernandes after the Swiss international tested positive for Covid-19 during the latest round of testing.
Dortmund: Burki; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Can, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Reyna; Haaland.
Mainz: Zentner, Brosinski, St. Juste, Hack, Niakhate; Stoger, Latza, Martins, Boetius; Burkardt, Mateta.
Edin Terzic looks to be reigniting Dortmund’s title challenge. Since taking over, the Black & Yellows have won four of his five games in all competitions – the latest an impressive win at RB Leipzig last time out. Erling Haaland scored a brace after Jadon Sancho’s opener as they sealed a 3-1 win at the Red Bull Arena.
Mainz, meanwhile, will be hoping new coach Bo Svensson can oversee a change of fortune. The Red and Whites have won just one game all season and after losing his first game as head coach last weekend against Frankfurt – 0-2 – the 05 will be looking to cause a shock on Saturday.
Ones to watch
Borussia Dortmund have made consistent progress over the course of the past few games, and goalkeeper Roman Burki will be hoping to keep a second clean sheet in three games against Mainz.
“We have certainly made progress in terms of our system and our positional play in recent weeks,” said the Swiss stopper. “Everybody knows what they are supposed to be doing.
“The whole atmosphere on the pitch and in the team is very important for us. It’s a little bit livelier, we’ve communicated a lot during our recent mates, injected some emotion. That’s exactly what we need."
Jonathan Burkardt was self-critical after the defeat against Frankfurt – the homegrown player wants to improve his scoring record and still believes that Mainz can escape the drop.
“There are still enough games in which we can score points,” he is convinced. “You have to see from the outside that the team always wants to go all the way, regardless of the result.
“I think that was at least recognisable at the weekend, even after going down 0-2. We really wanted to score a goal.”
The Black & Yellows have lost two of their last three home games against Mainz, having previously been unbeaten in the first 11 meetings on home soil (seven wins, four draws).
When the two teams met back in June, Burkardt and a penalty from Jean-Philippe Mateta saw Mainz prevail 2-0 and move them away from the relegation zone.
Having won against Wolfsburg and then RB Leipzig in the last two games, Dortmund still boast a 100% record in 2021, and Terzic is hoping that run can continue this weekend.
“We said that January would be defining and that every game is very important,” said the head coach. “It was a very good step in Leipzig, but it gets us nowhere if we don’t continue seamlessly where we left off.
“We must not let it be that come Saturday evening, we’re in the same position we were in last Friday. We want to take advantage of the fact we can improve our table position and take the next step.”
Meanwhile Bo Svensson has not only been looking at Dortmund’s strengths, but also trying to find solutions to hurt them as Mainz look to cause an upset.
“For me, what’s important is what I see on and off the pitch,” says the recently appointed head coach. “I’ve been here for nine or ten days now and I learn something new every day.
“Our goal is to be as consistent as possible over 90 minutes and to do better than against Frankfurt. A lot of things have to come together against Dortmund, you have to have the right tactical plan and the right players on the pitch to be successful.”
How to watch
The Bundesliga fixture will be shown live on BT Sport. The match will kick off at 2.30pm GMT at Signal Iduna Park.