Mainz suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon. Despite a strong start to the game, the 28,500 fans inside the MEWA ARENA were stunned as their team went into the dressing room 3-0 down at the break. Leverkusen’s devastating and clinical counter-attacking football in the final ten minutes of the first half, along with goals from Exequiel Palacios (29’) and Jeremy Frimpong (39’, 41’), broke the back of the match and put the guests in a commanding position. Mainz showed fighting spirit in the second half but they ultimately failed to convert their many chances into goals.
Bo Svensson made no changes from the side that beat Augsburg last weekend. Aymen Barkok replaced the injured Marcus Ingvartsen on the bench.
Mainz fail to convert their early chances into goals
The Zerofivers made a great start to the contest and put their opponents under some early pressure. Aaron had an early chance from a free-kick on the edge of the area after just four minutes, but his effort went straight into the arms of Lukas Hradecky. The home side had a golden opportunity just two minutes later, when Karim Onisiwo’s cross fell to Angelo Fulgini in the six-yard-box. Fulgini’s effort, however, was saved by the goalkeeper and the chance went begging (6’). The guests made a relatively slow start to the contest, but they fashioned a good chance around the 12 minute mark. The ball fell to Mitchel Bakker after an impressive Moussa Diaby solo run and the Dutchman’s effort from around 18 yards forced a good save from Robin Zentner. The next big opportunity fell to Mainz, but Silvan Widmer’s volley inside the six yard box was hit straight at the goalkeeper. Svensson’s side would go on to bitterly regret their wasted chances.
Leverkusen got their first of the game just before the half hour mark. Kerem Demirbay’s corner fell to Palacios, whose shot took a wicked deflection off Jonny Burkardt and into the goal (29’). Bayer 04 doubled their lead ten minutes later after a devastating counter attack. Moussa Diaby beat both Hack and Leitsch and made his way into the penalty area, before squaring it to Frimpong, who just had to tap it in (39’). The worst, however, was yet to come. Just two minutes later, the away side went 3-0 in front. Leitsch couldn’t deal with the second ball after Hack’s header and Frimpong took advantage to grab his second of the contest. Despite being second best for much of the first half, the Champions League participants went in at half time three goals to the good.
Penalty not checked, Aaron hits the bar
Svensson made three changes at the break. Niklas Tauer, Jae-Sung Lee and Delano Burgzorg came on for Alexander Hack, Angelo Fulgini and Jonny Burkardt. FSV showed lots of fighting spirit and looked to get themselves back into the contest early with an early goal. Aaron nearly provided the perfect response but his cracking effort from 20 yards rattled the cross bar (55’). In the phase of play before Aaron’s effort, many in the ground felt that the referee could have checked the monitor for a possible penalty, but the check never happened. The Zerofivers were once again the better side in the second half but they ultimately failed to take advantage of their 61% possession and their many shots on goal. Leverkusen were defensively astute and didn’t want to take too many risks in order to preserve their three goal cushion.
FSV still managed to fashion some good chances against the guests, who were defending deep in their own half. Silvan Widmer was put through on goal by Anton Stach, but the Swiss was brought down by Ecuadorian Piero Hincapie just outside the penalty area. This was Hincapie’s second bookable offence, and he was sent from the field of play (77’). Stach hit the resulting free kick sweetly, but his effort was palmed away Hradecky in the opposition goal (79’). Just 60 seconds later, Karim Onisiwo had a golden opportunity from around eight yards out, but his effort grazed the post (80’). Widmer tested the keeper with a header eight minutes later (88’) and the Swiss then wasted arguably the best chance of the game from five yards out just before injury time (90’). Leverkusen were then reduced to nine men in injury time, when Bakker was sent from the field for his second bookable offence (90+4). Leverkusen, however, managed to keep a clean sheet and are taking all three points back to North Rhine-Westphalia.
Mainz are sat on seven points and four games. Next up for Svensson’s side is a trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday 4th September (17:30 CEST).
Mainz 05 0-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Mainz 05: Zentner – Widmer, Bell, Hack (46‘ Tauer), Leitsch, Aarón (46‘ Caci) – Kohr (66‘ Barreiro), Stach – Fulgini (46‘ Lee), Onisiwo, Burkardt (46‘ Burgzorg)
Bayer: Hradecky – Frimpong (71‘ Kossounou), Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie, Bakker – Andrich, Demirbay, Palacios (71‘ Palacios) – Schick (83‘ Azmoun), Diaby (81‘ Fosu-Mensah)
Goals: 0-1 Palacios (29‘), 0-2 & 0-3 Frimpong (39‘ & 41‘)
Referee: Christian Dingert