Dortmund whistled into the winter break after failing to snap winless run in Bundesliga

AP , Wednesday 20 Dec 2023

Borussia Dortmund was whistled into the winter break by its own fans Tuesday after struggling Mainz fought back to earn a 1-1 draw, stretching the home team’s winless run in the Bundesliga to four games.

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Dortmund s Dutch forward #21 Donyell Malen vies for the ball with Mainz Austrian defender #02 Phillipp Mwene and Mainz German midfielder #24 Merveille Papela during the German first division Bundesliga football match between BVB Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05 in Dortmund, western Germany. Photo: AFP

Dortmund coach Edin Terzić and the players did receive some applause and encouragement after approaching supporters after the match, but there was little festive cheer for the team as it finished the year without a win in any of its last six games across all competitions.

“It’s just not happening, these decisive moments are not on our side,” said Dortmund captain Emre Can, whose team has only one win from its last eight Bundesliga games. “I can’t fault the guys because they’re trying. We want to win, we want to be successful, but then it doesn’t work out.”

Dortmund had started well against Mainz, the team that thwarted its title hopes on the final day last season.

Julian Brandt rewarded the home team’s positive start with a brilliant free kick inside the top right corner in the 29th minute.

Mainz only threatened before the break, when Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel deflected Marco Richter’s effort to the right.

But Sepp van den Berg equalized after Dortmund’s defense failed to properly clear the resultant corner – Phillipp Mwene was left in plenty of space to find van den Berg at the far post with his cross.

Dortmund struggled to reassert its dominance in the second half. Terzić sent on Sébastien Haller and the 19-year-old Samuel Bamba to reinvigorate his attack, then U.S. forward Gio Reyna for defender Nico Schlotterbeck.

Dortmund had more of the ball but looked incapable of breaking through.

Mainz created better opportunities to win. Jonathan Burkardt should have scored when he only had Kobel to beat but somehow the Mainz substitute scuffed his shot.

Reyna thought he’d scored in the last minute but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag. A VAR check confirmed the offside call.

Donyell Malen had a shot saved in stoppage time as Dortmund finally began to threaten, albeit too late.

Terzić is due to meet with sporting director Sebastian Kehl and chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke during the winter break to discuss Dortmund’s troubles.

“These are issues that unfortunately keep repeating,” Terzić said. “They’re issues we talked about in summer, issues we talked about last winter, and issues that have been with us for a very long time now. And that’s what we always do — we meet after the season or during breaks, we discuss things openly and honestly, we look each other in the eye and try to tackle things and think about solutions.”


Third-place Leipzig was held 1-1 at Werder Bremen in Emil Forsberg’s last game before his switch to New York Red Bulls.

Leipzig was leading when Forsberg went off to applause from teammates and best wishes from opponents in the 62nd. Forsberg had played Loïs Openda through and the Belgian forward scored at the third attempt in the 47th after Bremen goalkeeper Michael Zetterer blocked his first two efforts.

But Justin Njinmah grabbed a point for Bremen when he fired into the far corner for the equalizer in the 75th.

Also, Hoffenheim drew with Darmstadt 3-3.

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