Borussia Dortmund maintained the five-point gap between Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München after beating 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park on Sunday evening.
Thomas Tuchel’s side failed to reduce the points margin last weekend when they played out to a 0-0 draw with Bayern, who then thrashed SV Werder Bremen 5-0 on Saturday.
However, Dortmund responded the following day as goals either side of the half-time break from Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa kept the pressure on the Bavarians with eight league games to go.
Die Nullfunfer finished the weekend in the sixth and final European place, one point ahead of the chasing pack.
The visitors set up to frustrate Dortmund and tried to hit them on the counter-attack, but couldn’t find a way back into the match once Reus broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
The attacking midfielder was played in by Gonzalo Castro and buried his shot past Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius from eight yards out on the right.
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Martin Schmidt’s men had Karius to thank for keeping the scoreline down to just one goal before the break as the shot-stopper pulled off saves to deny Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Reus.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also found Karius a tough nut to crack after the striker was thwarted on three occasions in the second half, but Kagawa eventually found a way through on 73 minutes, steering Reus’ pass home from close range.
The hosts seemed happy with their two-goal cushion as they saw out the remainder of the contest without much fuss.
On Thursday, Dortmund travel to London to play Tottenham in a UEFA Europa League match. Their next Bundesliga fixture is away to FC Augsburg on Sunday.
Sixth-placed Mainz face Bremen away on Saturday in a league match.