Borussia Dortmund extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table by securing a 2-1 win over mid-table side 1.FSV Mainz 05 at the Opel Arena on Saturday.
Chances were at a premium for both teams during the first 45 minutes. Axel Witsel came closest for the visitors with a powerful long range effort, while Mainz striker Jean-Philippe Mateta was denied only by the shoulder of goalkeeper Roman Bürki.
The first goal finally came when Paco Alcácer came off the bench to score with just his second touch of the match, setting a new Bundesliga record for reaching nine league goals in the shortest amount of time to celebrate the announcement of his long-term contract at the club on Friday.
Robin Quaison brought the hosts back on level terms with a delicate finish through the legs of Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki, and it was no more than Mainz deserved.
However, veteran defender Łukasz Piszczek then secured all three points for Borussia Dortmund with an outstanding long range shot, which crashed into the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Key Talking Point
After winning against Bayern Munich is such spectacular fashion, so much emphasis was put on this game as historically trips to sides of Mainz's ilk prove to be Borussia Dortmund's downfall in the Bundesliga title race.
The Black and Yellows weren't at their best and their passing always seemed to be just half a yard off, but Lucien Favre's side still came through the other side with all three points to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Bürki (7); Piszczek (7), Akanji (7), Zagadou (8), Hakimi (6); Delaney (7), Witsel (9*), Sancho (7), Reus (7), Bruun Larsen (7); Götze (7).
Substitutes: Alcácer (9) Pulisic (6) Diallo (N/A).
A third into the season and it still looks like Axel Witsel is the signing of the season, having swapped Tianjin Quanjian for Borussia Dortmund during the summer.
Witsel is in the mood to score today— Goro Toyoshima (@gorotoyoo) November 24, 2018
Great effort from Witsel. He has been very commanding this game so far— Will (@passlacked) November 24, 2018
The Belgium international has been the catalyst for everything good which Borussia Dortmund have done under Lucien Favre this season, and there hasn't been a single game where he's left fans disappointed.
Against Mainz, Witsel showed his attacking ability in the early stages of the match and almost scored a screamer for the Black and Yellows on his weaker left foot, while he remained as classy as ever during the second half to secure all three points.
There weren't any standout shockers in the Dortmund lineup, but both full backs looked off the pace at the Opel Arena.
Real Madrid loanee Achraf Hakimi looked way too overzealous in the early stages of the match and found himself diving into challenges, as well as mistiming them.
The veteran Łukasz Piszczek, meanwhile, was disappointing on Saturday largely because of his outstanding performance in Der Klassiker two weeks ago, but after scoring that winning goal, who really cares?
1.FSV Mainz 05
Zentner (6); Brosinski (6), Bell (6), Hack (6), Niakhaté (7), Aarón (7); Gbamin (6), Kunde (5), Latza (6); Mateta (8), Quaison (7).
Substitutes: Onisiwo (6) Boëtius (N/A) Ujah (N/A).
Borussia Dortmund can confirm their place in the Champions League knockout stages in midweek when they welcome Belgian giants Club Brugge to the Westfalenstadion.
Mainz, meanwhile, will hope to edge closer to the Europa League places when they travel to take on a relegation-threatened Fortuna Düsseldorf.