Effective Bremen overpower Mainz
Kruse cancels out Mainz response – Quaison penalty shout not given
In Saturday’s clash, 1. FSV Mainz 05 were defeated by Werder Bremen for the first time in five meetings between the two sides. Milot Rashica (3’) opened the scoring and Max Kruse found the back of the net twice (36’, 63’) for the home team, either side of Robin Quaison’s 52nd minute strike. Mainz were unfortunate to have not been awarded a penalty for a questionable tackle on Quaison in the Bremen penalty area.
For the first game back after the final international break of the season, head coach Sandro Schwarz made three changes to the side which faced FC Bayern Munich. Aarón Martín, Kunde Malong and Robin Quaison replaced Alexander Hack (not named in side) Jean-Philippe Gbamin (late to training) and Karim Onisiwo, who was named on the bench.
13 days after the painful defeat in Munich, today’s game started in similar fashion as the home side raced into an early lead. Max Kruse played a long ball from deep inside his own half which split the defensive pair of Stefan Bell and Moussa Niakhaté, who were holding a high line. Milot Rashica was able to latch onto the pass and rounded goalkeeper Florian Müller before slotting home in the third minute. Jean-Philippe Mateta had the chance for an immediate reply in the seventh minute, but his smart chip from a narrow angle went inches wide of the post. Another early talking point was referee Marco Fitz’s decision not to award a penalty for a tackle on Robin Quaison. The Swedish international beat Niklas Moisander to the ball but was brought down by the Bremen centre-back. Mainz players protested for a penalty and Fitz decided to revert to VAR before making a decision, eventually opting against awarding the spot kick. A tough decision to take, and from a Mainz point of view a questionable one. Two minutes later, Kruse tested Müller with a shot from the edge of the area but the goalkeeper was equal to it. At the other end of the field, Levin Öztunali saw his effort miss the target in the 21st minute. The biggest chance to equalise fell to Mateta, who found himself free in the area after some great link up play with Jean-Paul Boëtius and went one-on-one with Jiri Pavlenka, but the Bremen goalkeeper came out on top (25’).
Mainz came into the game more and more and were threatening the home side, but Werder were effective catching the Zerofivers out of position after winning possession. Bremen were able to utilize the space created due to the Mainz attacks to double the lead in the 36th minute. Niakhaté was unable to deal with a cross effectively and Max Kruse beat Müller from 12 yards. Kruse had a chance to double his tally for the day just four minutes later but fired a volley well over the bar and the first half ended 2-0, with Werder having something to show for their superior effectiveness going forward.
Momentum and Maxim after the break
Schwarz made one substitution at the interval, introducing Alexandru Maxim in place of Öztunali for the second half. The new introduction had an immediate impact in the final third. The Romanian was demanding and distributing the ball and was indirectly involved in Mainz’s early second-half goal. Boëtius‘ near post cross from the left was met by Robin Quaison, who beat the goalkeeper from short-range (52‘). The determination and drive of the Mainz side was clear to see, as the visitors were determined not to go home empty handed. The Zerofivers were the better side in the opening phases of the second half and dominated the game. In the 58th minute, Boëtius caused trouble again as he centred the ball from out wide but neither Kunde nor Daniel Brosinski could turn it home. Werder then proved that control of the game and possession don’t guarantee a goal, as they broke on the counter attack in the 63rd minute. Rashica got the better of Bell and squared the ball to Kruse who made no problem beating Müller to take the score to 3-1. In a similar fashion to the first half, Mainz had come close to leveling the game before conceding to once again to see the deficit doubled.
Kruse’s second of the game seemed to give Bremen more confidence and the home side came stronger into the game again, but Mainz still continued to have chances of their own. Goalscorer Quaison missed the target from 18 metres in the 84th minute, before Bremen goalkeeper Pavlenka denied Karim Onisiwo two minutes later. In the 87th minute, Bell and Anthony Ujah both had chances to score from a Maxim corner but were unable to find the back of the net in what was the last significant chance of the game. A tough result for Mainz, who easily could have taken more from the game with a little bit more luck in front of goal. Following today’s defeat, Mainz will go into the home game against SC Freiburg on Friday (kick-off 20:30 CEST) with 30 points from 27 games.