Borussia dug deep to earn a 1-0 win away at 1. FSV Mainz 05 in matchday 25’s Saturday night fixture, with Nico Elvedi’s goal ending a four-games winless run.
The Foals flew out of the gates at the Opel Arena, forcing Florian Müller into a superb triple save inside a matter of minutes to deny Lars Stindl twice and then Denis Zakaria. The high tempo start didn’t carry on throughout the first half though. Yann Sommer only had to make the one routine stop at the other end, although it was Mainz who had the better of the game in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half started at a similarly slow pace, with little pressure being applied by either attack. It seemed that only a mistake, a moment of brilliance or a set piece would finally break the deadlock, and it turned out to be the latter in the 63rd minute. A deep corner was hooked back into the six-yard box by Tobias Strobl and Nico Elvedi reacted fastest, prodding the ball underneath the keeper to give Gladbach the lead. Mainz looked to their bench to get back into the game and Hecking responded in turn, with the Foals ultimately managing to keep the Zerofivers at bay and secure a crucial first win in five to stay in the top four.
Dieter Hecking made four changes from the side that were beaten by Bayern last week, with Fabian Johnson, Tony Jantschke, Tobias Strobl and Jonas Hofmann all coming into the team. Matthias Ginter missed out with the thigh injury, while Michael Lang, Christoph Kramer and Florian Neuhaus all dropped to the bench. The full line-up was as follows: Sommer; Johnson, Elvedi, Jantschke, Wendt; Strobl, Zakaria, Hofmann; Hazard, Stindl, Plea.
Apart from Ginter, Hecking was also without Ibrahima Traoré (groin surgery), Mamadou Doucouré (thigh tear) and Josip Drmic (thigh strain) for the game due to injury.