For a long period, Mainz successfully defended with a man down in Düsseldorf on Saturday night, but a second yellow card for Edimilson Fernandes in the 45th minute proved to be too much of a burden. Rouwen Hennings scored the only goal of the game as Fortuna deservedly won 1-0. FSV were well on top in the opening ten minutes of the match, but were increasingly forced to defend.
Sandro Schwarz made two changes to the starting line-up from the Paderborn game, with Aarón Martín and Taiwo Awoniyi replacing Ridle Baku and Robin Quaison.
The hosts, who came into the game without a win in their last seven matches, initially let FSV have all the possession as they looked to set up with defensive solidity. Edimilson Fernandes produced the game’s first effort on goal, but his shot from distance was well off target. That was it in terms of offensive action in the first 15 minutes, as both sides seemed to shy away from any sort of risk. Robin Zentner was first called into action as he plucked a tame cross from Karaman out of the air before Hennings could get on the end of it (20’). Just a little while later, the Zerofivers were let off as Tekpetey’s shot flew just wide of the left-hand post (26’), then Karaman fired over the bar (27’). Mainz’s best chance came through Awoniyi; Jean-Paul Boëtius played a fine pass to the striker, but he couldn’t get any power on it and Fortuna keeper Steffen gathered it with ease (39’). Düsseldorf were much the better side after the first 15 minutes, and just as the half was drawing to a close, Mainz went down to 10 men. Fernandes’ foot was too high and came into contact with Zimmermann’s head and referee Felix Zwayer showed the midfielder a second yellow card.
Zentner strong at first, powerless at the end
Head Coach Schwarz reacted at half time, bringing on Danny Latza for Awoniyi. FSV were by now looking for opportunities to hit Fortuna on the break, while the home side were by far the better team. However, chances were still at a premium after the break. The most noteworthy opportunities came in the shape of shots from Öztunali (52’) and Gießelmann (55’). After a good hour, Düsseldorf had two good chances in a minute. Twice Adams rose to meet the cross and head it towards the Mainz goal, twice Zentner came out on top, keeping his team level (65’). Apart from that, Mainz didn’t allow their goal to come under any real threat until the final quarter of an hour. Karaman had a go in the 78th minute, but the shot was way off target.
The rest of the game was very nervy, as dangerous balls were coming in from corners and freekicks in midfield, of which Mainz gave away a lot. But birthday boy Jeremiah St Juste and his centre back partner Moussa Niakhaté were largely up to the task, and if they missed then Zentner was on hand to clear up. This lasted until the 82nd minute when Hennings eluded Niakhaté and got on to the end of Gießelmann’s ball in to head the hosts in front late in the day. Mainz tried to get back on level terms, but it was only right at the death that they managed to carve out an opportunity, as Latza’s shot from distance was blocked (89’). So it ended in a close, yet bitter defeat to Fortuna. The Zerofivers go into the match away at FC Köln with six points from eight games.