It has come down to Matchday 34 to decide who will be the German Bundesliga champions in 2023. "It is probably the most beautiful game so far that lies ahead of me," said BVB coach Edin Terzic ahead of the match against Mainz 05 on Saturday (kick-off: 15:30 CET), in which Borussia Dortmund are hoping to clinch the league title.
With a 3-0 away win at FC Augsburg last weekend, BVB recaptured top spot in the Bundesliga and go into the final Bundesliga matchday with a two-point lead at the top of the table. Their rivals Bayern Munich will kick off at the same time, and will need to beat 1. FC Cologne to have any chance of winning the title. But BVB's fate is in their own hands, and they can seal the 09th league title in the club's history with a victory against Mainz.
"Of course, it's a very special week for us, because it will be the last match of the season. We have played ourselves into this position, and that has prompted a great deal of euphoria. That's exactly what we wanted," said Terzic. "Nevertheless, the key is to do nothing different. We're trying to repeat everything we've done well up to this point." All the organisational issues were tackled at the beginning of the week, so the focus since Tuesday has been entirely on the game with Mainz. "We know that we have an important game at the weekend, with all the things that go with it. There are moments that can go well, there are moments that can go badly. But the beautiful thing is: the pitch is just as big as it was last week, the ball is just as round, we will start with eleven players, and they are all up for winning the game."
Long-term injury absentee Jamie Bynoe-Gittens will not make the squad and there are still question marks over whether Jude Bellingham will be fit to play, but all the other players are ready for action. Bellingham, who missed the game in Augsburg due to a knee injury, has been able to step up his training in the past few days. However, the midfielder has not yet been able to join his teammates on the pitch. "We definitely want him to be in the squad. We hope that his hard work will be rewarded and that he will be available at the weekend," said Terzic.
The coach described Mainz as a team that play "very mature, very physical" football, and contest a lot of duels. "They have found their system. No matter which players are out on the pitch, everyone knows their role. They have won in Leverkusen and Leipzig since the winter break – two really hard away games," said Terzic about the opposition. "In the reverse fixture, they had held us to a draw until the 92nd minute, and we had to fight until the last second for victory." About a month ago, Mainz also beat Bayern Munich at home. Since then, however, they have lost four times and conceded 13 goals. BVB, on the other hand, are hoping their strong home form will continue: They have won their last 11 matches in SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, scoring at least two goals in each game.
"It has been a beautiful journey we have been on together so far. We want to cap it off with a victory on Saturday," said the coach about the support of the fans. "We are not there yet, but we are ready to take the final step together: as a team, as a club, as a city."