Mainz 05 learn a painful lesson in Leipzig
Mainz 05 travelled to Leipzig on matchday 10, hoping to gain some momentum after the victory against 1. FC Köln. However, FSV looked shaky from the start and extremely vulnerable to Leipzig’s quick counter-attacks. It finished as an eight goal rout. Mainz have the opportunity to redeem themselves against Union Berlin next weekend.
The game plan for Saturday’s away fixture in Leipzig did not come to fruition. Two of the first-half goals stemmed directly from Mainz losing the ball in midfield as they sought to build up an attack. What could have been if Mainz had converted two good chances in the 21st and 23rd minutes will be the question on the lips of every Zerofiver. This 8-0 defeat is FSV’s largest ever in the Bundesliga.
Sandro Schwarz made two changes to the starting XI that took the field against Köln. Alexander Hack started at centre back in place of the suspended Moussa Niakhaté and Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel came in for Daniel Brosinski, who dropped to the bench.
RB Leipzig took an early lead through Marcel Sabitzer. Mainz were too brave, too attacking and left themselves exposed to the counter-attack. Leipzig broke quickly and shifted it out wide. Timo Werner crossed low from the left-hand side and the Austrian got just enough on it to get it past Robin Zentner (5’). FSV’s first real chance came after 21 minutes, Ádám Szalai put Levin Öztunali through on goal, but the midfielder tripped as he tried to get his shot off. Three minutes later, Alexander Hack rose to meet the corner, but Péter Gulácsi was equal to the effort.
The collapse began in the 30th minute. Leipzig countered quickly through Yussuf Poulsen, who shifted it out to Christopher Nkunku on the left hand side. The Frenchman then played the ball towards the back post where Werner was waiting to tap it home. Just five minutes later, Nkunku got Leipzig’s third with a well-stuck shot from outside the box. Zentner was powerless to stop the ball nestling in the back of the net. Before Mainz had time to recover, it was suddenly 4-0. Poulsen crossed from the right wing and found Marcel Halstenberg in the box, who swept it home (39’). Schwarz reacted by bringing on Danny Latza for Szalai, but Mainz just could not live with the tempo of Leipzig’s game and found it difficult to hold on to possession of the ball. Poulsen made it five just before the half-time whistle. Sabitzer’s shot ricocheted back off Zentner, and the Danish striker was on hand to slot in the rebound, ending a torrid first half for the Zerofivers (44’).
It wasn’t much better in the second half either. Another quick counter brought another Leipzig goal as Werner fired low and hard from the left side of the box, finding the bottom right corner (48’). Two minutes later, Mainz’s afternoon got even worse thanks to a Nordi Mukiele goal from Timo Werner’s cross (50’). What followed was the guests’ best period of football in the whole match. Quaison did eventually manage to put the ball into the back of the Leipzig net, but the linesman’s flag was up (61’). Werner scored his third and Leipzig’s eighth goal after 87 minutes, capping off an afternoon to forget for Mainz. Next weekend, Union Berlin come to the OPEL Arena for a match that serves as an opportunity for the Zerofivers to show a different side to their game and bolster their points total ahead of the next international break.