Marco Reus ended his Bundesliga goal drought before missing a penalty as Borussia Dortmund beat Thomas Tuchel’s former club Mainz 2-0 at the Coface Arena on Friday.
Reus netted for the first time in the league since August to put the visitors ahead in the first half but missed the chance to double the lead when he saw his penalty saved on 47 minutes.
Roman Burki twice denied Yoshinori Muto from close range but Mainz rarely looked like finding an equaliser in a largely scrappy encounter.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan put the result beyond doubt eight minutes from time, sloppy play in the Mainz defence allowing the Armenian in to score as it had for Reus’ opener.
Victory cements Dortmund in second place in the Bundesliga, as well as moving them back to within four points of league leaders Bayern Munich ahead of the champions’ trip to Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Muto could only flick straight at Burki when given a glorious early chance and only a well-timed sliding challenge from Niko Bungert denied Mkhitaryan a clear sight of goal on the counter-attack.
Reus was denied by Loris Karius after some good link-up with Shinji Kagawa, but the Germany international was gifted the opening goal on 18 minutes.
Mkhitaryan found Aubameyang on the edge of the area after pouncing on Bungert’s slack pass out of defence and the Gabon striker fed Reus, who fired low left-footed past Karius.
Dortmund’s intense attacking continued to force Mainz mistakes and Mkhitaryan fired narrowly over from 20 yards after Reus had pinched possession from Daniel Brosinski.
Burki got a fingertip to a Jairo Samperio free-kick which clipped the crossbar, but Mainz struggled to create many meaningful openings despite some sustained pressure before the break.
Mainz were furious when the referee pointed to the spot after Bungert brought down Aubameyang just outside the area shortly after the interval, but Karius made a smart save to his right from Reus’ penalty.
Mats Hummels had to be bailed out by Burki’s quick reactions after Muto turned away from him inside the area and Kagawa clipped a shot beyond the far post when played through by Matthias Ginter as the game opened up.
Dortmund began to drop deeper and look to exploit Mainz on the break and both Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang came close with efforts from the edge of the box from quick counters.
And the attacking duo combined to secure the points in the 82nd minute, with Aubameyang capitalising on another poor defensive pass – this time from Brosinski – before laying the ball off to Mkhitaryan, who calmly rounded Karius before slotting home.
Park-Joo ho fired straight at Karius from a tight angle on another break forward but Dortmund saw out the victory in comfortable fashion.