First things first
How do you focus on a Bundesliga match against FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday when you have a big Champions League semi final encounter against Real Madrid in front of you on Wednesday? Well, I think there is no real answer to this question. You just have to. Even though Borussia is on a good way to keep the second place in the ranking and is eight points clear of third-ranked Bayer Neverkusen, some more points need to be collected to secure the place behind Bayern Munich. Three more points at home against Mainz are needed and furthermore, the match can be seen as a final rehearsal for the Champions League match. Get in touch with the ball, gain three points at home, have a good Saturday afternoon. This is what should be the result of the Mainz game for the Ballspielverein.
Coach Jürgen Klopp underlined these impressions by stating that they do not think about the match against Madrid at the moment but only on the match against Mainz. Even more telling could be the possible line-up because as it seems right now, no big rest periods will be given away for the squad. Marco Reus and Lukasz Piszczek both deal with their minor injuries and could take some time away from the pitch but the rest of the team will most probably consist of the best players Borussia has to offer. Skipper Sebastian Kehl who extended his contract with the German champion during the past week will also not be able to make it to the squad for the league encounter. Piszczek could be replaced on the right defensive side by Kevin Großkreutz which would not mean satisfaction for Oliver Kirch once again. The right defender came from Kaiserslautern to Borussia before the season but did not get very much attention and even with Piszczek gaining some rest, Kirch was not considered an option over the last couple of weeks. Instead, he gained some playing time in the third German League by playing for the reserve team of BVB.
With Reus possibly taking some time off, Gündogan could once again play the offensive role in the midfield right behind striker Lewandowski who will be looking to score in his twelfth consecutive goal in Bundesliga which would also result in Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender forming the double six in the defensive midfield. The opponent of Mainz 05 deals with several personal issues as well and will miss the likes of Kirchhoff, Choupo-Moting, Bungert, Klasnic, Zabavnik, Ede and keeper Müller. However, much loved Christian Wetklo will be back in the Westfalenstadion. The former player of blue white scum is not a fan favourite (to say the least) and will most certainly be greeted with whistles and boos from the stands from which he deserves every single one of. Mainz lost their last two matches and did not win one of them since the 9th of March against Bayer Leverkusen. However, qualification for the Europa League is still possible for the squad of coach Thomas Tuchel so they will bring no gifts to the sold-out temple of Westfalenstadion. Another defeat could mean saying goodbye to all dreams of Europe for 05, however, the German Bundesliga proved over the last couple of weeks that none of the teams having options to get to the Europa League is able to win a few matches in a row so that Mainz could also be going for European competitions in case of a defeat.
Of course, the supporters of Borussia will have Real Madrid in mind as well but I think it is also important to support the black and yellows in the best way possible as well on Saturday as on Wednesday. The team plays another good season and even without winning the league deserve every bit of respect they can get from the supporters. Furthermore, the match against Mainz also means the first home match after Málaga so the heroes of the quarter finals should be given a warm welcome. Just like the players can regard the match as a final rehearsal for Madrid, the supporters can see it in the same way. Just get used to help the team and to chant and have a good, maybe a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Of course, this season is different from the last two seasons and the Bundesliga just seems to play a minor role. However, it is still the most important national competition and more or less the homework to do before getting the minds straight on the Madrid game. Therefore, Borussia needs to focus on Mainz, get three points and then go on to prepare for the big match. Yes, it is a kind of weird or strange situation and match, but it still is a match which needs to be won. Go on Borussia, go on Südtribüne. First things first, beat Mainz.
BVB: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz (Piszczek), Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Bender - Blaszczykowski, Götze, Reus (Sahin) – Lewandowski
Mainz: Wetklo - Pospech, Svensson (Bell), Noveski, Junior Diaz - Baumgartlinger - Zimling, Soto (Malli) - Ivanschitz (Parker) - N. Müller, Szalai
Referee: Florian Meyer (Burgdorf)
Location: Sold-out Westfalenstadion