It was an emotional homecoming for Thomas Tuchel as his Borrusia Dortmund side defeated Mainz 2-0 at the Coface Arena in Mainz. It was Tuchel’s first visit to his old club as Dortmund manager. Dortmund needed a bounce back performance after a disastrous loss to Bayern Munich two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Mainz, who won a five goal thriller away to Darmstadt last match, needed three points to try to get back into a Europa League place.
Marco Reus drew first blood for the away side on 18 minutes, with a smooth right footed finish. The goal was all Dortmund needed, as they went on to win 2-0.
A late goal by Henrikh Mkhitaryan put the game beyond reach for Mainz. It was Dortmund’s first win in the Bundesliga since match day 5 against Leverkusen.
Mainz will be disappointed that they were not able to do more against this Dortmund side, especially after an early chance from Yoshinori Muto who should have scored. Roman Burki made a great save on the attempt, and turned in a solid performance. After his terrible showing against Bayern, Burki needed a great game probably more than any other Dortmund player.
After scoring Dortmund were in control for most of the match. Mainz had a few set piece opportunities, but Dortmund’s aggressive pressing kept Mainz at bay. Tuchel got his tactics right against the side he managed for five seasons.
Mainz promoted Tuchel from the club’s under-19 side in 2009, and was in charge of the senior team until his resignation in 2014. He quickly became a rising star in the Bundesliga. The 2010-2011 season in charge with Mainz was his best. His side won their first 7 Bundesliga matches, including a 2-1 victory over Louis Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich in Munich. Mainz finished that season in fifth place, and was one of two times they finished in a Europa League place.
At the end of the 2013-14 season Tuchel announced that he would be leaving his post. He asked Mainz to release him from his contract so he could explore other coaching opportunities. Mainz never did release him, and Tuchel took a year sabbatical while his contract ran out.
When Jurgen Klopp stepped down in Dortmund, Tuchel’s name came up in plenty of rumors. After last season ended, he was formally announced as Klopp’s replacement.
Tuchel’s start in Dortmund was exceptional. Dortmund began this season, winning their first 11 competitive matches. Recently things have started to come undone, draws with Hoffenheim and Darmstadt put them four points back of Bayern Munich. On match day 8, that deficit jumped to 7 after their 5-1 loss in Munich.
A win in Mainz became essential for Tuchel and his men. The crowd at the Coface Arena didn’t welcome Tuchel back with much admiration. He was whistled by the Mainz supporters at the start of the game. Though, after 90 minutes it was Tuchel who had the last laugh.
Dortmund now sit 4 points back of league leaders Bayern Munich. They will wait to see if Bayern continue their winning ways tomorrow morning. The title race might still be too far gone, but for Tuchel this was about getting one over his old team, and he did just that.
Talking Point: Today’s Bundesliga match was the first time this season that Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to score. It ended a record-breaking streak of goals in the first 8 matches of the season.