Berlin: Giovanni Reiner’s late back-to-back winners helped Borussia Dortmund clinch a 2-1 win over a resilient Mainz in the Round of 17 finale.
Dortmund and Mainz traded attacks shortly after kick-off and Edimilson Fernandez’s corner at the near post broke the deadlock with just two minutes played, allowing Lee Jae-sung to concede the opener for Mainz, Xinhua news agency reported.
The visitors responded well and leveled moments later when Dortmund’s new signing Julian Ryerson scored with a deflected shot from inside the box.
‘BVB’ gained momentum but could not extend the lead as Mainz goalkeeper Finn Dahmen was equal to efforts from Youssoufa Mukoko and Karim Adeyemi.
Mainz finally focused on its defense and kept Dortmund at bay for the rest of the first half.
After the restart, Mainz took charge and created presentable chances as Markus Ingvartsen unleashed a dangerous header on the hour mark and Anton Stach pulled narrowly from a promising position in the 87th minute.
The visitors sealed the deal out of the blue in the dying seconds of the match, however, when Gio Reina sealed the three points for “BVB” with a flicked-on corner kick at the back post.
With the result, Dortmund closed the gap on front-runners Bayern Munich to five points.
“An important win for us but to be honest, it could have gone either way. We were lucky winners today, but Mainz had chances, especially in the last 30 minutes,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzik.
“It’s an unfortunate loss and also undeserved. It’s a tough one for our team,” commented Mainz sporting director Martin Schmidt.
Elsewhere, Frankfurt missed the chance to move into second place by sharing the spoils with Freiburg after a 1-1 draw.
Werder Bremen suffered their second consecutive defeat in 2023 as Union Berlin won 2-1 on the road.
Bayer Leverkusen extended its winning streak to five Bundesliga games with a 2-0 win over Bochum and Augsburg beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0.