Pros 02.03.2019 — 18:55 Uhr

Denied twice by the woodwork: Heartbreak for Mainz in Berlin

Immediate breakthrough right of the second half but the 05ers were unable to hold on to all three points on carnival weekend.

Despite a valiant performance, two goals conceded in ten second half minutes cost 1. FSV Mainz 05 dearly as they surrendered all three points away against Hertha BSC. After the 05ers took the lead through a Niklas Stark own goal, the Hertha defender deflecting a Lewin Öztunali shot into his own net, Hertha responded instantly as Marko Grujic (50’) and Stark (60’) turned the match around. Both goals came from set pieces. Over the course of the ninety minutes, Mainz were the more dangerous side in front of goal and hit the frame of the goal twice through Karim Onisiwo and Anthony Ujah.

05ers head coach Sandro Schwarz made one change to the side that defeated FC Schalke 04 3-0 last weekend. Jeal-Paul Boëtius was suspended for the trip to Berlin and was replaced by Robin Quaison in the starting lineup. The Swede took up the attacking midfielder role in the 4-4-2 system for the visitors. The first chance of the match fell to Hertha defender Jordan Torunarigha but he headed wide from a Ondrej Duda corner (9’). The 05ers attack took a few minutes to settle into the match before creating their first chance in the 14th minute. Aáron Martin made space down the left wing before crossing to Ujah but his looping fell narrowly wide of the far post. Salomon Kalou then went close at the other end, getting on the end of a Maximilian Mittelstädt cross but Florian Müller was able to save the shot (18’).

After these good chances, there was a period of little action in the middle third of the first half. The next good opportunity fell to the 05ers in the 34th minute as they were denied by the frame of the goal for the first time in the match. Martin once again created space for a dangerous cross down the left wing before Onisiwo crashed a header onto the bar. Mainz were the better side in the first half and played much better than their previous two away trips to Wolfsburg and Augsburg. However they didn’t carry the lead into half-time that they deserved. Ujah created one last chance at the end of the first half after good build-up play from Jean-Philipp Gbamin but Ujah couldn’t convert (45’).

Three goals in the opening quarter of the second half

Mainz made the breakthrough their first half performance deserved less than sixty seconds into the second half. Quaison crossed from the right side and Öztunali tried a shot from range. His shot was deflected off the unfortunate Stark and the ball trickled into the back of the net to give the 05ers the lead (46’). However, the club from the capital responded immediately and drew level less than three minutes. Davie Selke was denied from a corner by a fine save by Müller before the ball fell to the feet of Marko Grujic who tapped home the equaliser (50’).  This led to an action packed second half with action at both ends. However, Hertha turned the match around with their next clear chance on the hour mark as Valentino Lazaro crossed for Stark, who made amends for his own goal and scored to give the hosts the lead. The 05ers had surrendered the lead in the space of ten minutes and Schwarz responded by bringing on Jean-Philippe Mateta for Onisiwo. The Frenchman had been suffering with a cold this week. In the 69th minute, Hertha nearly put the match to bed as Duda curled a shot from 20 metres out onto the inside of the post. Luckily for Mainz, the ball bounced away to safety.

Mainz continued to attack as the match entered its closing stages and the visitors once again were unfortunate not to score. Ujah got on the end of another good Aáron Martin cross before heading once more on to the Hertha crossbar (75’). The 05ers went close again just a minute later as Ujah turned provider and Quaison fired a shot just wide of the far post (76’). Hertha were holding on in the closing stages while Mainz tried to grab a point in the dying seconds. Sadly the 05ers were unable to take anything and come away from Berlin empty handed. The 05ers face Borussia Mönchengladbach in the OPEL ARENA next Saturday (18:30 CET).