Mainz made it two home wins from two on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Augsburg 3-1 at the MEWA ARENA. Jae-Sung Lee gave the hosts the lead in the 20th minute before Karim Onisiwo made it two just a few minutes later (24’). Although the guests pulled one back shortly before half time courtesy of an Ermedin Demirovic penalty, FCA could do nothing to stop the brilliant Lee who secured his brace not long into the second half (51’). 22,000 fans were in attendance at the MEWA ARENA to watch the Carnival party unfold.
Bo Svensson made just one change from the side that faced Union last week, with Anton Stach coming in for Dominik Kohr.
The game was just as intense and closely contested in the early stages as many predicted and it took both sides a little while to create anything clear-cut. Karim Onisiwo had FSV’s first chance of the game inside the opening ten minutes, but his effort was no problem for Gikiewicz (7’). The guests’ plan was to catch Mainz on the counter but Svensson’s side did well to keep FCA at bay throughout the first half. Ludovic Ajorque, who looked busy and held the ball up well during the open exchanges, had his first chance of the game in the 19th minute but he put his shot well side.
Although the opening 20 minutes left a lot to be desired in terms of chances created, the game sprung into life after Mainz got the breakthrough. It came when Jae-Sung Lee broke into the penalty area after beating Felix Uduokhai and the South Korean looked to square it across the six-yard-box to Ajorque. The ball was partially intercepted by Engels but it awkwardly bobbled back into the path of Lee who tapped it home from close range (21’). FSV didn’t hang around and they doubled their lead shortly after. Danny da Costa whipped a cross into the penalty area from the right-hand-side and Gikiewicz could only manage to punch it to Leo Barreiro, who headed the ball back across goal. Karim Onisiwo was lurking at the back post and he headed home from close-range to put his side 2-0 up (24’). FCA, however, were given a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty for handball (27’). Although referee Sven Jablonski initially waved the appeals away, the spot-kick was given after a VAR check. Demirovic stepped up and tucked the ball past Dahmen to make it 2-1 (28’).
An open contest ensued as both sides looked to seize the initiative. Stefan Bell came close to getting Mainz’s third when he got on the end of Stach’s corner, but the defender’s header went agonizingly wide (37’). Ajorque then had a golden chance to open his account for the Zerofivers when the ball fell at his feet in the six-yard-box after some untidy Gikiewicz goalkeeping. The Frenchman couldn’t quite get the desired connection and his effort was blocked on the line by the defender and the subsequent rebound was cleared (43’).
Superb Lee makes it 3-1
While FSV came out unchanged for the second half, Enrico Maaßen made a slight alteration by bringing on Fredrik Jensen for Drena Beljo. The first chance of the half fell to Barreiro after some smart link-up play with Lee but the Luxembourger couldn’t quite get his shot away (47’). It wasn’t long, however, before the South Korean got Mainz’s third. Hanche-Olsen launched the ball forward and after getting the better of Robert Gumny, Lee found himself one-on-one with Gikiewicz. The number seven remained calm to slot it past the keeper to make it 3-1 (51’). Caci then looked to volley his side into a 4-1 lead shortly afterwards, but the keeper punched it clear (59’). Although Augsburg were doing their utmost to get themselves back into the contest, Mainz remained sturdy and continued to control the game.
Svensson brought some fresh legs on in the 69th minute when Marcus Ingvartsen came on for Ajorque. Augsburg’s best chance of the half fell to the in-form Mergim Berisha but he fired his effort from inside the penalty area over the bar (72’). FCA thought they had got themselves back into the game a couple of minutes later but Jensen’s tap-in was ruled out for an offside in the build-up (74’). Lee was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by Aymen Barkok (80’) as the gaffer looked to see the game out. FSV did a good job of keeping their opponents at bay in the final ten minutes as they looked to secure all three points. Hack and Weiper were brought on in stoppage time and the referee blew his whistle to give Mainz their second home win in a row.
The Zerofivers are now sat on 26 points after their win on matchday 20. Next up for Svensson’s side is a trip to NRW to face Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday, 19th February, 19:30 CET), before they welcome Borussia Mönchengladbach to the MEWA AREANA (Friday, 24th February, 20:30 CET).