All square at the break
It was a closely fought encounter from the outset, albeit without any clear-cut chances initially. VfB began to seize control of the game around the quarter-hour mark, but it was the home side who scored first. After Fabian Bredlow had saved a shot from Karim Onisiwo (22’), the Mainz forward headed back across goal from the ensuing corner for Marcus Ingvartsen to break the deadlock (23’).
VfB remained unfazed but struggled for creativity in the final third until the 41st minute, when Silas led a counterattack and found Wataru Endo, who scored an eye-catching equaliser from the edge of the box.
Mainz continued to pose a threat in the second half, primarily through set pieces, while VfB relied on Silas’ pace on the counter – although it was from a corner that Sebastian Hoeneß’ side took the lead when Serhou Guirassy headed in from Chris Führich’s delivery (64’). The match subsequently became a fiercely contested affair with plenty of full-blooded tackles, until Führich extended VfB’s lead to 3-1 in the 78th minute from Endo’s pass.
Mainz threw everything forward in the closing stages but were thwarted by a superb double save from Bredlow (83’). Tanguy Coulibaly put the seal on the victory in stoppage time when he tapped into the net after Führich bore down on goal (90’+1).
23rd minute (1-0): Mainz take the lead from a corner. Onisiwo, lurking at the back post, heads the ball back into the middle for Ingvartsen to poke over the line.
41st minute (1-1): VfB launch a counterattack following a Mainz corner. Silas drives forward at pace before squaring into the middle for Endo to volley home!
64th minute (1-2): Führich, on as a substitute, whips in a corner that Guirassy heads in. Turnaround!
78th minute (1-3): Endo passes to Führich, who cuts inside and curls a shot into the far corner.
91st minute (1-4): Führich goes one-on-one with the goalkeeper before laying the ball off for Coulibaly to prod in for 4-1!
VfB head coach Sebastian Hoeneß: “We’re very pleased with the win. There was a lot of pressure on us today. The equaliser to make it 1-1 was really important for us, mentally speaking. We played more freely over the course of the second half and did well. With the score at 3-1, Fabian Bredlow made two huge saves to prevent the closing stages becoming too nerve-wracking. It’s not easy to come from behind in Mainz with the pressure we were under, so I’m proud of the team. The game against Hoffenheim will be another big challenge that we’ll focus on and prepare for right away.”
Chris Führich: “We’re delighted about this extremely important win. We picked up points at exactly the right time today. After I was brought off the bench, it was my aim to help the team and to bring fresh impetus. It’s nice that I was able to do that. The match against Hoffenheim is still very important for us. We’ve taken a key step today and now we want to do everything we can to make sure we stay up next week.”