Pros 17.08.2019 — 18:23 Uhr

Mainz made to pay for wasteful finishing

Mainz were punished by three late goals after failing to make countless chances count in the Bundesliga opener in Freiburg.

A nightmare start to the Bundesliga season saw the Zerofivers concede three late goals in a 3-0 defeat away at SC Freiburg. The three goals, scored by Höler, Schmid and Waldschmidt all came between the 81st and 87th minutes, despite Mainz enjoying the greater share of the game’s chances.

Sandro Schwarz made just one change to the team that were bitterly eliminated from the DFB-Pokal last weekend, bringing in Jeremiah St. Juste in place of the injured Stefan Bell.

FSV looked like anything but the away side in the opening phases of the game, working hard from the first whistle to gain control of the affair. Indeed, it took just 90 seconds for captain Danny Latza and Co. to force Freiburg keeper Schwolow into action. Not long after, Quaison’s cross took a deflection, forcing a reflex save from Schwolow. At the other end, Florian Müller pulled of a spectacular stop of his own, denying Germany U21 teammate Luca Waldschmidt’s wayward cross. The chance gave the hosts a boost of confidence and threatened once more; Robin Koch’s free header flying just wide of Müller’s post.

Mainz reacted with more chances of their own; Latza sending Baku through with a perfect ball, but the 21-year-old delayed too long with the finish. Nico Schlotterbeck found Karim Onisiwo free in the box with a long throw, to no avail, before Quaison was fired agonizingly wide with a spectacular overhead kick.

However, despite a late flurry of half-chances for Mainz, the clinical edge was lacking and the two sides went into the break goalless.

Dominant Zerofivers hit with a late sucker punch

Schwarz’s team picked up where they left off, created more notable chances early in the second half; Onisiwo this time hitting the side-netting on the turn. But a failure to hit the target or properly test Schwolow’s goal continued to define Mainz’s game and ultimately proved costly, as the Zerofivers would find out late on.

Shortly after St. Juste was forced off with an injury and replaced by Hack, the Mainz centre back was caught off balance by Freiburg’s Höler, who broke powerfully into the box and slotted clinically past Müller for the opening goal (81’). While Mainz were left wondering how they let this game slip away from them, Freiburg hit the with a second less in as many minutes – a low-driven strike from Jonathan Schmid on the edge of the box putting the hosts seemingly out of sight. Waldschmidt  added insult to injury with a third from the penalty spot a mere five minutes after the opening goal to bury any hopes of a late comeback.

Next weekend, Mainz will be hoping to make amends when they play host to Borussia Mönchnengladbach (15:30 CEST).