With a new coach in Peter Stöger, we were there as Borussia Dortmund travelled to Mainz with the weight of fan expectations on their shoulders. And they duly delivered, beating the Zerofivers 2-0 in a match marred by missed opportunities.
After a first-half performance that saw Mainz hit the crossbar early on through Suat Serdar and Abdou Diallo going close after getting his head on a Daniel Brosinski free-kick, both teams became quickly frustrated as the match wore on.
It was clear from the off that Stöger had set up his Dortmund side to defend, working solely off counter-attacking opportunities and possession. In fact, their only chance of the first quarter fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who fired well over. The Gabonese attacker cut a forlorn figure throughout as his side appeared reluctant to use their attacking prowess up front.
In the final Bundesliga home game of 2017, Mainz were determined to make a statement, especially heading towards a DFB Pokal knockout fixture against VFB Stuttgart on 19.12. But it wasn’t to be in front of 33,000 fans at the Opel Arena (our very own Aaron was among them), with Sokratis finding the net after a goalmouth scramble and Shinji Kagawa finishing off a late forage forward to seal all 3 points for the visitors.
Although a promising performance for the Zerofivers, it is their fourth home loss of the season and Borussia return to Dortmund with much more positive news to ponder. The team, led by German International Marcel Schmelzer, now have seven wins to their name this year.
While Connor celebrated, I mourned another drop in the table for my beloved Zerofivers… the fingers are crossed it doesn’t go further downtown.
An away victory against Dortmund in 2018 then?
One can certainly dream.