The final pre-season friendly of 1. FSV Mainz 05’s program before the competitive season starts in Aue finished 1-1 at the MEWA ARENA against La Liga side Athletic Bilbao. The 120-minute long friendly saw the Basque club lead through Nico Williams after 40 minutes, before numerous chances in the second half were finally capitalised upon in the last seconds by Edimilson Fernandes who equalised.
Played in two 60-minute halves, the Zerofivers wore their new away kits for the first time in the game, and the home side started well: following some fine play, crosses from both wing-backs Aarón and Silvan Widmer found nobody on the end of them. Alexander Hack also had an early chance, before Jonny Burkardt found the net. Hack had played him through, but the young attacker was judged to have been offside and the goal was chalked off. At the other end, Robin Zentner denied Jon Morcillo from close range on 27 minutes.
Mainz dominant, Athletic score against the run of play
A short drinks break ensued on the half-hour mark, before more Mainz crosses caused chaos in the Athletic backline. Anton Stach and Aarón’s balls in could not be latched onto, before Widmer and Burkardt both missed chances following another delivery from our Spanish left-back. Then, at the other end, the first goal of the game – Nico Williams curled a strike from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner and gave Zentner no chance. The away side had the lead on 40 minutes.
Despite the goal conceded, the Zerofivers continued to dominate the game. The away side continued to create goalscoring chances, though: Iñaki Williams hit the post from close range, before his brother Nico missed from the inside right channel. Just before the break, some great pressing from captain for the day Karim Onisiwo put the ball through to Burkardt, who looked to play back to his strike partner, but the move did not come off. The interval on 60 minutes came, and Athletic were a goal to the good.
FSV add pressure from the restart
From around the 70-minute mark, the Zerofivers looked to hit the gas: Marlon Mustapha hit the post after some great work following Jae-sung Lee’s pass, before Dominik Kohr missed the rebound (72’). Not long later, Delano Burgzorg was denied by substitute Athletic goalkeeper Ander Iruarriazga, before Mustapha and Kohr also went close.
The game then entered a calmer phase, interjected with a wonderful piece of play between Lee and Burgzorg, which Aymen Barkok missed with just over 10 to go. Barkok was then denied by the goalkeeper before Mustapha lost his footing for the rebound. The final whistle drew nearer and nearer, before the equaliser finally came in the 120th and final minute: youngster Keanu Kraft crossed in, and Edimilson Fernandes raced in at the back post to score.
Head coach Bo Svensson following the draw:
“I thought the first half an hour was pretty good. Then, Jonny’s goal was ruled out – who knows how the game would’ve gone if that counted. We kept improving in the second half and created lots of good chances, but when you look at some individuals and the routines we got into, you could see that we weren’t quite where we wanted to be. That’s normal for some of the lads, and now we have the time to improve things. These 120 minutes have improved us and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Mainz 05 1-1 Athletic Club
Mainz first half: Zentner – Aarón, Leitsch, Bell, Hack, Widmer – Stach, Barreiro, Fulgini – Onisiwo, Burkhardt
Mainz second half: Dahmen (106‘ Rieß)- Aarón (80‘ Kraft), Leitsch (80‘ Lucoqui), Bell (80‘ Papela), Hack (80‘ Tauer), Widmer (80‘ Fernandes) – Kohr, Barkok (114‘ Shabani), Lee (114’ Bobzien) – Burgzorg, Mustapha
Goals: 0-1 N. Williams (40‘), 1-1 Fernandes (120‘)
Referee: Patrick Alt