Dominant Zerofivers fall to unfortunate defeat in Hannover
Dominant visitors fail to take their chances as the Bundesliga’s bottom club took the lead in bizarre circumstances - VAR disallows Mainz goal
Despite being the dominant side for most of the match, 1. FSV Mainz 05 have fallen to a 1-0 defeat away against Hannover 96 on Saturday afternoon. While the Zerofivers showed a lot of character and created multiple chances to score, Hannover were able to prevent the visitors from scoring. The hosts pick up three vital points to keep their hopes of Bundesliga survival alive. Hendrik Weydandt score the only goal of the game in bizarre circumstances in the 66th minute while Robin Quaison had a first half goal disallowed following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.
In Mainz’s penultimate away match of the season, Sandro Schwarz made one change to the side that defeated Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-1 last weekend. Danny Latza became a father for the first time on Wednesday evening and he was given the weekend off to spent time with his family. Alexandru Maxim came into the starting lineup to play as an attacking midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation. Jean-Philippe Gbamin captained the side in Hannover.
The visitors made the stronger start to the match and created the first chance of the match in the second minute. Guilio Donati’s cross was met by Robin Quaison but the Swede couldn’t direct his header towards goal in heavy rain. The visitors created a better chance to score in the ninth minute minute as Quaison fired a shot towards goal from 25 metres out. However, Hannover goalkeeper Michael Esser was able to parry the shot away from danger. As the first half developed, the Zerofivers chose to sit back a little before hitting Hannover on the counter attack. Jean-Paul Boëtius started a dangerous counter in the tenth minute as the Dutchman linked up well with Aarón Martin, Maxim and Jean-Philippe Mateta before Martin found the wide open Karim Onisiwo with a cross. However, the striker was unable to direct his header towards goal (10’). Hannover created their first chance of the match in the twelth minute after a quiet start. Jonathas ran through the heart of the Mainz midfield before firing a shot narrowly wide of Florian Müller’s far post. The home side posed more problems for the Mainz defence just two minutes later as Maxim lost possession and Nicolai Müller broke clear. As he was one-on-one with Florian Müller, however, the Hannover forward fired wide (14’).
This chance turned out to be the last chance for the Bundesliga’s bottom side in the first half as the Zerofivers took control of proceedings. Martin has a shot blocked from a rebound (17’) before Onisiwo failed to provide the right connection after the hosts lost possession (19’). In the 28th minute, the Zerofivers thought they had made the breakthrough as Quaison forced the ball into the back of the net. However, after a minute of consultation with the VAR, Quaison was adjudged to have fouled Hannover defender Pirmin Schwegler in the buildup to the goal (29’). After the goal was disallowed, Mateta was played through by Onisiwo but could only hit the outside of the side netting. In the closing stages of the first half, the Zerofivers continued to press and carve out more chances to score. However, the best chance came at the end of the half as a Donati cross was headed on by Mateta and Esser interviened. However, the ball fell to Quaison and a last gasp clearance denied the visitors from a half-time lead as their strong performance went unrewarded.
Hannover score against the run of play
Mainz continued to dominate at the start of the second half in search of the opening goal. On the hour mark, the Zerofivers nearly took the lead through an own goal as Onisiwo tried to play in Mateta but Hannover defender Felipe intervened before the Frenchman could shoot. However, Felipe almost sent the ball into his own net from five metres out. A few minutes, Maxim had a shot blocked once again by Felipe (65’). Moments later, completely against the run of play, Mainz fell behind in bizarre circumstances. Hannover broke clear down the left before Donati seemingly cleared the ball for a corner. However, Müller and Niakhaté both wanted to prevent a corner and collided in the process as the ball fell to Hannover forward Linton Mainer. His square pass across goal fell to Weydandt who slotted the ball home to give Hannover a surprise lead (66’). The match turned into an attack vs. defence for the final half an hour as Mainz tried to break down a resolute Hannover defence.
As the match reached its final stages, Mainz tried everything to rescue a deserved point. Gbamin tried his luck from range in the 78th minute but this didn’t trouble Esser while substitute Anthony Ujah fed Maxim and his shot was also blocked (81’). Just a minute later, Esser made a fine save to deny substitute Levin Öztunali before Hannover created their last chance to seal victory. Captain Waldemar Anton’s header was denied on the line by Mateta (86’) before the Zerogivers created one last chance in the final minute of stoppage time to secure a point. After Florian Müller went up for a corner, the ball fell kindly for Onisiwo in the box but his shot fell wide of the far post (90+3’). The Zerofivers fell to a defeat and are on 36 points ahead of their match with RB Leipzig on Friday night in the OPEL ARENA (20:30 CEST). Mainz also fell behind Fortuna Düsseldorf in the race to finish the season in the top ten as Fortuna defeated Werder Bremen 4-1.