Matchday 31 ended in a 5-0 defeat for Mainz. Despite conceding an early goal, Svensson’s side were in the game in the opening stages and had a glorious chance to equalise through Jonny Burkardt. Things went downhill for the Zerofivers when Niklas Tauer was sent from the field of play in the 23rd minute for a foul in the penalty area and FSV went on to concede four more goals before the break. Mainz looked a lot more solid in the second half but were unable to get on the score sheet.
Bo Svensson made two changes from the side that got a goalless draw against Stuttgart last time out. Leandro Barreiro and Marcus Ingvartsen replaced Dominik Kohr and Karim Onisiwo. For the second game in a row, Niklas Tauer was a part of Mainz’s back three.
Tauer sees red and Kruse gets a hat-trick
The hosts came into the game off the back of a 6-1 drubbing to Borussia Dortmund and started the match the brighter of the two sides. It took Wolfsburg just eight minutes to find the opener, which came about after Mainz were caught napping at the back. Ex-Zerofiver Ridle Baku was able to find teammate Lukas Nmecha at the near post with a sharp cross from the right hand side. The 23-year-old’s flick ricocheted off the post into the path of Jonas Wind, who tapped in from three yards. Despite going behind so early on in the game, Mainz put their opponents under pressure and carved out a glorious opportunity after a quarter of an hour. Burkardt stole the ball from defender Sebastiaan Bornauw and found himself one-on-one with Koen Casteels in the Wolfsburg goal. The striker, however, couldn’t find the finish and the score remained 1-0 to the home side.
Shortly after Burkardt’s golden opportunity, Mainz suffered another setback. In the 21st minute, Max Kruse played a good ball to Nmecha, who was pulled back by Tauer as he made his way into the penalty area. Referee Harm Osmers had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and after a VAR check, he also sent Tauer from the field of play. Kruse converted the penalty to double the hosts’ advantage. Mainz would have conceded a third in the 29th minute, if it weren’t for a reaction save by Robin Zentner. However, just six minutes later, the hosts scored again, when Xaver Schlager found Baku on the right hand side with a cross-field pass. Baku put in a first time cross, which found Kruse in the six yard box and the striker had no problems putting the ball past Zentner. The worst, however, was still yet to come. Three minutes before the break, Kruse scored his second after Mainz failed to clear their lines and the 34-year-old completed his hat-trick in first half stoppage time, leaving Svensson’s side trailing 5-0.
Mainz more stable in the second half but fail to find consolation
Svensson made four changes at half time, with Papela, Hack, Kohr and Aarón, coming on for Boetius, Lucoqui, Ingvartsen and Stach. Jonas Wind had a sniff at goal in the opening stages and it looked as though Wolfsburg would increase their lead. However, in the 52nd minute, Mainz managed to create a good opportunity through Jonny Burkardt, who tested the Wolfsburg keeper from an acute angle. Despite the home side enjoying most of the ball, the ten men of FSV appeared to be much more compact after the break. Silvan Widmer got into a good position in the 58th minute, but his cross was cleared by Bornauw.
The gaffer made his final substitution of the game in the 72nd minute, bringing on Onisiwo for Burkardt. The game began to peter out as VfL looked content with their five goal cushion. Onisiwo had the chance to give Mainz a consolation in the 85th minute but his effort was kept out by Casteels.
This defeat leaves Mainz ninth in the table on 39 points with three games still to play. The Zerofivers will welcome reigning champions FC Bayern to the MEWA Arena next Saturday (15:30 CEST).