BERLIN (AP) Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored and helped set up another goal as Borussia Dortmund beat Mainz 2-0 Friday to consolidate its second place in the Bundesliga.
Marco Reus put the visitors ahead in the 18th minute with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang providing the final pass after Mkhitaryan intercepted a wayward pass by Mainz defender Niko Bungert.
Reus missed the chance to make it 2-0 after the break when Loris Karius saved his penalty kick. Bungert had been penalized for bringing down Aubameyang when he played the ball outside the penalty area.
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Shinji Kagawa missed another great chance 15 minutes later and Aubameyang went on to miss two more.
”We had big problems playing our game in the first half. Mainz made it difficult for us,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. ”We increased the tempo in the second half, created more pressure and the second goal had to come.”
Mkhitaryan finally sealed it in the 82nd when he rounded the goalkeeper after being set up by Aubameyang following another mistake by the Mainz defense.
”You could tell that we had three draws and then a thrashing in Munich,” Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said of his side’s 5-1 defeat to Bayern in the previous game. ”The win is very important.”
Tuchel, who coached Mainz for five seasons before taking a one-year sabbatical from football, was facing his former club for the first time.
”To be on the other side in Mainz was strange,” Tuchel said.
Bayern can restore its seven-point lead with a win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.