FSV miss out on deserved point
Witsel’s late goal gave BVB all three points in a tight game at the MEWA ARENA on Wednesday evening.
Despite creating multiple chances and putting in a brave performance, 1. FSV Mainz came away from Wednesday night’s rearranged fixture against Borussia Dortmund empty- handed. Despite being the more dangerous team for large parts of the game, it was Axel Witsel’s late goal that gave the visitors all three points in front of 25,000 fans at the sold-out MEWA ARENA.
After almost three weeks without a competitive match, FSV. Mainz celebrated their 117th birthday with a mouth-watering clash against second-placed Borussia Dortmund under the floodlights at the MEWA ARENA. It came as no surprise that Bo Svensson made multiple changes to the side that faced FC Union Berlin just over a fortnight ago. Robin Zentner took his usual place in the Mainz goal and the back five was made up of Stefan Bell, Moussa Niakhaté, Niklas Tauer, Silvan Widmer and Anderson Lucoqui. Anton Stach, Kevin Stöger and Marcus Ingvartsen played in a three in midfield and Jonny Burkardt and Karim Onisiwo led the attack.
FSV with a strong start to the game
Despite all the uncertainty in the build-up to the game, FSV were solid from the very first whistle and didn’t let their opponents play their free-flowing, counter attacking football. There weren’t any real goal-scoring opportunities in the opening stages, which came as a relief for the Zerofivers after some shaky-starts in recent weeks. The first dangerous moment from a Mainz point of view came in the 16th minute, when Stach made a driving run into the Dortmund half. He couldn’t however get the ball out of his feet quick enough and find Burkardt, who was in a promising position.
Nevertheless, this attack marked the start of a good period in the game for the Zerofivers, who continued to pick holes in their opponents and made it difficult for them to play. Stöger also had an attempt in the 21st minute from around 20 yards out, but failed to hit the target. In return, the visitors also had their first real chance of the game, when Torgen Hazard had an effort from an acute angle in the 22nd minute. His effort however did not cause Zentner any real problems.
However, it was the hosts who kept their foot on the gas and seemed the more likely team, despite not creating anything clear-cut. A few moments later in the 24th minute, Stöger had an attempt in the penalty area, which was blocked. FSV’s best chance of the game came in the 27th minute, when Onisiwo’s sweeping cross found Burkardt in the six yard box. The striker however failed to get the required contact and the game stayed level.
The game got rather heated just before break, with the referee handing out four yellow cards in the final few minutes of the half. There was little action at either end until Stöger’s shot in the 45th minute, which failed to hit the target. The players went into the dressing room with the scores level, with the visitors perhaps lucky to not be trailing.
FSV continue to search for the opener
Neither side made any changes during the break, as play continued in much the same fashion as in the previous 45 minutes. Stach came within inches of putting the hosts ahead in the 50th minute, curling one just wide of the top corner after a corner from Stöger. FSV continued to press hard, as Burkardt was able to get off a shot following a cross from Onisiwo, but Can managed to get in the way and block his effort (55’). BVB head coach (and former Zerofiver) Marco Rose then subbed on Erling Haaland, but the striker didn’t have an immediate impact on the match. Instead, it was Widmer who kept goalkeeper Marwin Hitz on his toes, forcing him to parry a shot after a cross from Lucoqui (61’).
Dortmund came close for the first time in the 66th minute, as Donyell Malen was unmarked in front of goal but failed to fully connect with the ball. The visitors then turned up the pressure, with Haaland testing Zentner just three minutes later. Our keeper was able to parry his shot to keep the score deadlocked (69’). Unlike in the first half, FSV struggled to create chances for themselves after the break, but remained solid at the back. BVB were able to carve out a few chances from set pieces, with Hazard sending a free kick over the bar (74’). In the final 15 minutes of the game, FSV were able to get off a few shots of their own, as both Stöger and substitute Merveille Papela missed the target in quick succession (83’, 84’). Just as it looked as though both teams would be taking home a point, Dortmund took advantage of a momentary slip in concentration within the Mainz backline. After a free kick from Hazard, Witsel was able to bundle it into the back of the net (87’). As injury time ticked on, Burkardt came close once again after a cross from Onisiwo, but was unable to connect with it (90’+4). Dortmund held on to win 1-0, handing Mainz just their second defeat at home this season.
On Saturday afternoon, the Zerofivers will once again be in action at the MEWA ARENA, as they host Arminia Bielefeld (15:30 CET).