European qualification tops the agenda for Borussia Dortmund and Mainz this weekend
European qualification tops the agenda for Borussia Dortmund and Mainz this weekend

Europe beckons for Dortmund and Mainz

Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund can rubber-stamp their place in next season's UEFA Champions League with victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday (kick-off 13:30 GMT/15:30 CET).

'Massive respect'

Automatic qualification for Europe's elite club competition has long been on the cards for second-placed BVB, who boast a handsome ten-point lead over Champions League play-off incumbents Bayer 04 Leverkusen, having last weekend put FC Bayern München to the sword at the Allianz Arena.

"They're bang in form and are clearly the runaway favourites," admitted Mainz head coach Thomas Tuchel. "But I wouldn't put it past us to go there and win - why not? Of course we'll need the rub of the green for that to happen. We've got massive respect for them, but we've got the guts to do it."

Like Dortmund, seventh-placed Mainz also have European football in their crosshairs, with the Karnevalverein's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League receiving a timely boost this week after Bayern's 5-1 DFB Cup semi-final win over 1. FC Kaiserslautern opened the door for another Bundesliga club to play on the continent next season.

'A good performance'

For Tuchel, though, Saturday's trip to Signal Iduna Park is the priority. "It's an important game," he explained. "We have to be alert and wide-awake, play with courage and self belief and keep things tight as a team. I'm in no doubt that we'll put in a good performance. We can't be completely to blame if that's not enough."

The 05ers' pragmatic strategist has earned his fair share of plaudits since taking over the reigns at the Coface Arena in August 2009, not least from his predecessor, BVB head coach Jürgen Klopp. The 46-year-old spent seven years at the club before switching allegiances in May 2008, and a win on Saturday would represent a sixth victory on the spin over his former employers.

'Very good shape'

"They've become an established Bundesliga outfit and I'm delighted for them," Klopp enthused. "They've got the right people in place for the right jobs. They're in very good shape, and Thomas [Tuchel] could train any club in the world. We'll have to make it as hard as we can for them. We're going to have to take it to them."

Klopp's gung-ho approach has served his side well of late, with Dortmund following up last weekend's emphatic 3-0 success in Munich with a over VfL Wolfsburg in the semi-finals of the DFB Cup. The 2013/14 season hasn't always been kind to die Schwarz-Gelben, but a strong finish to their Bundesliga campaign would certainly set them up nicely for the cup final with Bayern on May 17.

Possible line-ups:

Dortmund: Langerak - Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Durm - Jojic, Sahin - Großkreutz, Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski

Mainz: Karius - Pospech, Bell, Noveski, Junior Diaz - Geis - Moritz, Soto - Malli - Okazaki, Choupo-Moting

Christopher Mayer-Lodge

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See why Dortmund's Jürgen Klopp lost the plot against his old club back in 2011 on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: