On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund will meet Mainz 05 at the Westfalenstadion with the goal of capturing their first Bundesliga championship in 11 years with a win.
BVB is in first place at the top of the table going into the last match of the season, two points ahead of Bayern Munich, who have consistently won the German Bundesliga.
The tightest Bundesliga title race in recent memory saw another major change during the penultimate Bundesliga game when Leipzig defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 at home. Borussia Dortmund showed up in Bavaria the day after Bayern lost to record a decisive 3-0 victory over a 10 men Augsburg and recover their own Meisterschale destiny! The title equation is now straightforward: if Dortmund wins this match, they will end Bayern’s ten-year reign on the German top division.
Edin Terzi, the manager of Dortmund, gave a philosophical analysis of the last day, saying that his players might have anything material they wanted but “can’t buy this moment.” It would take a brave person to bet against Dortmund winning the German champions for a ninth time going into this crucial game with their greatest home winning streak in this century (W11).
Bo Svensson’s ninth placed Mainz 05, who will likely finish the season in ninth if they lose this game unless tenth placed Cologne pulls off a convincing victory over Bayern, will attempt to sabotage the championship celebrations. The 05ers appeared to be a legitimate threat to the European spots not long ago, but after going 10 league games without a loss, they have since suffered four straight losses, bringing to a tepid conclusion what had appeared to be a promising season.
After two consecutive 3-0 away defeats to the teams directly above them, going on the road is unlikely to inspire much of a comeback on the final day. Mainz defeated Bayern 3-1 earlier in the season, and in an odd twist, Bayern will now hope that Mainz builds on their decent record over their last three visits to Dortmund (W1, D1, L1) and returns the favour.
Sébastien Haller of Dortmund made it nine Bundesliga goals after battling cancer earlier this season with his brace last weekend. This streak includes five goals in his previous three games Marcus Ingvartsen (G10), the leading scorer in the league, might be needed to start things off for Mainz 05 because four of his past six goals have done just that.
Thomas Meunier (adductor) and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (shoulder) will be out due to injuries, and Soumaila Coulibaly will be absent since he is representing France at the Under 20 World Cup.
Jude Bellingham, a talented midfielder, missed the victory over Augsburg due to a slight knee injury, but the teenager is available to play on Saturday and may line up with Brandt and Emre Can in the middle of the field.
Mats Hummels, a veteran defender who recently signed a new deal with BVB, is expected to start as the team’s captain at the back. The former Bayern player is aiming to become the first player in Bundesliga history to win at least three titles with two separate teams.
Even though Donyell Malen and Karim Adeyemi are the most likely pair to pair up with Haller in attack, Giovanni Reyna, who scored the match winning goal in the 93rd minute of a 2-1 victory over Mainz earlier this season, will be looking to force his way into the starting lineup.
Jonathan Burkardt (knee), Alexander Hack (groin), Silvan Widmer (ankle), and Maxim Leitsch (match fitness) are all out for Mainz due to injuries, while Ludovic Ajorque is suspended due to receiving too many yellow cards and is unable to play.
However, Andreas Hanche-Olsen is free to play after serving a one match suspension of his own and is anticipated to replace Aymen Barkok in the three men defense, with Dominik Kohr transferring to center midfield alongside Leandro Barreiro.
In order to support the forwards Ingvartsen and Karim Onisiwo, who have combined for 19 league goals this season, Anton Stach will probably move into an advanced midfield position.
Possible starting lineup for Borussia Dortmund
Kobel, Wolf, Sule, Hummels, Ryerson, Brandt, Can, Bellingham, Malen, Haller and Adeyemi.
Possible starting lineup for Mainz 05
Zentner, Hanche-Olsen, Bell, Fernandes, Da Costa, Barreiro, Kohr, Caci, Stach, Ingvartsen and Onisiwo.
We predict: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Mainz 05
Mainz defeated Bayern at the end of the previous month, and they will look to complete their season on a high note by defeating Dortmund and taking all three points on Saturday.
Although there may be a few tense moments throughout the game, Terzic’s team should perform well enough to secure the club’s ninth Bundesliga titles. However, we do not see this surging BVB team being stopped in their tracks.