BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund wasted the chance to go third in the Bundesliga as coach Thomas Tuchel had a frustrating return to former side Mainz on Sunday.
Danny Latza scored late for Mainz in the 1-1 draw as Dortmund’s seventh draw in 18 games left it fourth – one point below Eintracht Frankfurt in the last automatic qualification place for the Champions League.
"We didn’t allow any chances until the goal," Tuchel said. "Unfortunately we couldn’t make our dominance count."
Any hope of challenging for the title looks even fainter with Dortmund already 14 points behind Bayern Munich and 11 behind promoted Leipzig.
And it started so well with a third-minute lead.
A simple mistake in midfield – Jean-Philippe Gbamin lost possession – allowed Andre Schuerrle to run at the Mainz defence and pass to the unmarked Marco Reus on his left. Reus stayed calm in slotting the ball past Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.
Yoshinori Muto thought he’d equalized but the goal was ruled out for offside. TV replays suggested it was a wrong decision.
Mainz threatened only briefly and Dortmund enjoyed the better chances thereafter. Gonzalo Castro and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should have done better in the first half.
The second half proved similarly difficult, prompting Tuchel to bring on Mario Goetze and Ousmane Dembele for the final 20 minutes.
However, Mainz scored with its first effort on goal in the 83rd. Levin Oztunali whipped in a good cross for Latza to head in at the far post.
"It’s bitter because we could have sealed the deal beforehand," Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer said.
It could have been worse for his side with Mainz substitute Pablo De Blasis inches from claiming the winner with the last kick of the game.
FREIBURG 2, HERTHA BERLIN 1
Hertha also wasted the chance to go third earlier Sunday.
The visitors displayed no urgency to attack, leading to jeers from home fans as the ball made its way between goalkeeper Rune Jarstein and his defenders.
Hertha’s Per Skejlbred fired wide in the game’s first shot at goal in the 37th, two minutes before Janik Haberer broke the deadlock at the other end for Freiburg.
Hertha improved after the break – Vladimir Darida at least forced a save from Alexander Schwolow – but Freiburg substitute Nils Petersen appeared to end any hope of a comeback when he scored with three minutes remaining.
Hertha substitute Julian Schieber scored a minute later, however, to set up an exciting finale.
It was the fourth defeat in five games for Pal Dardai’s side.