Pros 26.02.2022 — 19:14 Uhr

Mainz’s trip to Union ends in defeat

Mainz’s difficult run on the road continues – Burgzorg’s first league goal in vain

Saturday’s match away at Union Berlin ended in a 3-1 defeat for Bo Svensson’s side. The 500 Mainz fans who made the long trip to the capital had to endure a difficult start to the game, in which Union took the lead through a deflected Haraguchi shot in the seventh minute. Mainz grew into the contest as the half progressed, but failed to turn their possession into real scoring opportunities. The score remained 1-0 to the home side at the break. Union doubled their lead in the 56th minute through Sheraldo Becker’s curling effort from distance and just four minutes later, things went from bad to worse for the away team, when Kohr was sent off after receiving a second yellow. Taiwo Awoniyi put the game out of Mainz’s reach in the 75th minute with the home side’s third. Delano Burgzorg pulled one back for FSV in the 90th minute but it was a mere consolation.

Bo Svensson named an unchanged team to face Union Berlin in Saturday’s battle between eighth and ninth. There were also no changes on the bench. Before the game kicked-off, both sides observed a minute’s silence to show their support for the citizens of Ukraine and wore black armbands throughout the match.

Union score with their first opportunity

FSV were looking to build on their solid away performance against Freiburg a fortnight ago and started the game with their usual 3-5-2 formation. After a cagey start to the game, Union were the first side to show any real threat and were rewarded after just seven minutes. Sheraldo Becker’s cross from the right hand side fell to Niko Gießelmann, whose initial shot was blocked, but the loose ball fell to Haraguchi, and his effort deflected off Hack and into the goal. There was a lengthy VAR check for offside, but referee Bastian Dankert eventually gave the goal. Union Berlin’s first big chance of the game ended their run of three games without a goal. Mainz grew into the game as the half progressed and a tight contest ensued. Despite enjoying lots of possession, Mainz were unable to create any clear-cut chances against a resolute Union and a blocked Anton Stach shot was the best chance they could muster in the first 20 minutes.

Overall, both sides were evenly matched in the opening period and despite some lively moments, Mainz failed to cause the Union goalkeeper too many problems. Stach’s long-range strike flew over Andreas Luthe’s goal in the 29th minute and Hack’s effort from Aarón’s free kick went behind for a corner. The Zerofivers spent most of the last 15 minutes camped inside Union’s half, but still lacked a cutting-edge. Aarón’s free kick on the edge of the area was the last action of the half but he failed to hit the target.

Becker’s curling effort and Kohr sees red

Neither side made any changes during the break and the second half started much like the first. It was intense, tight and there were lots of duels, but it was the home side who once again took the initiative and extended their lead. Sheraldo Becker picked up the ball on the left hand side in Mainz’s half and produced a moment of quality. He cut inside onto his right foot and sent a curling effort from 25 yards passed the despairing Robin Zentner’s finger tips and into the top corner. The home side lead 2-0. Things soon went from bad to worse for the away side. After picking up a booking in the 58th minute for bringing down Gießelmann, Kohr made a late challenge on Prömel just two minutes later and was given a second yellow. Just like in the game against Union in the first half the season, Kohr was sent for an early bath.

Bo Svensson was forced to react and switched to a back four and in the 62nd minute, he brought on Kevin Stöger and Marcus Ingvartsen to replace Karim Onisiwo and Alexander Hack. Eight minutes later, Stefan Bell and Jae-sung Lee made way for Niklas Tauer and Jean-Paul Boëtius. Despite the changes, it was Union who got the decisive third goal. Ex-Zerofiver Awoniyi played it through to Becker, who played a pass back to the substitute into the penalty area. The 24-year-old found himself one on one with Zentner, and had no problems finishing off the move. The goal proved decisive despite Mainz’s best efforts to get back into the game. Substitute Delano Burgzorg pulled one back for Mainz in the 90th minute but his first league goal for the club was too little, too late. The game finished 3-1 to the home side.

Attention now turns to next Sunday, when Bo Svensson’s side will welcome second-placed Borussia Dortmund to the MEWA ARENA (15:30 CET).