Mainz – They may not have been at their barnstorming best, but Borussia Dortmund did get back to winning ways following the bitter home defeat to FC Bayern München, taking the points at head coach Jürgen Klopp's old stomping ground at 1. FSV Mainz 05 courtesy of a 3-1 victory on Saturday.
Klopp: 'That one's down to me'
It was certainly a hard-earned success, with the hosts looking the sprightlier for much of the contest before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rifled Dortmund in front with 20 minutes to go from a free-kick. After Mainz had promptly hauled level courtesy of a penalty of their own, Robert Lewandowski put Klopp's troops back in the driving seat in like manner at the other end and the game's set-piece pattern was completed deep in added time when the Poland international slotted home once again from the spot to finally make the result safe.
That brace took Lewandowski up to 11 Bundesliga goals for the season and out on his own at the top of the individual scoring chart. It is also his best return to date in the German top flight after Matchday 14 although that said, his team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan was all set to take Dortmund's second penalty until the coach intervened.
“That one's down to me,” Klopp acknowledged after the match. “Miki was justifiably disappointed and Lewi would have let him take it. But I indicated the No9, it was all a bit unfortunate. I've already apologised, I just wanted to see the ball in the back of the net. Miki would have put it there as well, no doubt about it.” Asked about it himself, Lewandowski explained: “I'm actually the delegated penalty-taker, but Miki had put the ball on the spot. At first, I could just see the coach holding up two hands and we weren't sure if he was indicating nine or ten – my number or Miki's. I looked over to him again and he was clearly pointing at me. It was a small misunderstanding, these things happen.”
'We weren't at our best'
More relevantly for the overall good of the cause, the 25-year-old Warsaw native was well satisfied with the final outcome, all the more so given that as well as losing to Bayern, Dortmund had also come off second-best in their previous league outing at VfL Wolfsburg. “These three points are very important for us,” he said, “We came through a difficult game and showed we're a good team who can also adapt and deal with injury problems.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the only member of their nominal first-choice defence available against Mainz was Lukasz Piszczek, himself making his first starting appearance of the season, Dortmund struggled fror long periods to find their normal fluency. “We weren't at our best and we had a few problems,” Lewandowski admitted. “Mainz really got stuck in and made life difficult for us. After the break we changed things around a bit and it all improved.”
Six-pointer against Leverkusen
It's an improvement die Schwarzgelben aim to carry over into another busy week, starting with Tuesday's DFB Cup Round of 16 trip to 3. Liga outfit 1. FC Saarbrücken and culminating in next Saturday's home cracker against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, currently three points above them in second place. “We're just staying focused and we're absolutely determined to win these two games as well,” Lewandowski made clear; “Every competition's important to us, and every point in the Bundesliga. Not least in a direct head-to-head with Leverkusen.”
Angus Davison/Alexander Dionisius in Mainz