Öztunali with the late winner
Young Mainz XI beat Metz in second friendly on Saturday afternoon
It was a successful day of friendlies for the Zerofivers in France. Thanks to a late goal from Levin Öztunali, Mainz recorded a second 1-0 victory of the day against French top-tier side FC Metz. In the second of the day’s two friendly matches, head coach Sandro Schwarz sent out a very young team following the first 1-0 win in the morning. Lead by 25-year-old Alexander Hack, the oldest player in the starting XI, lots of talents from the academy and the U23s had the chance to prove themselves.
The young team, who played in a 4-2-3-1 formation, started the game well. Öztunali had the first shot of the match less than 60 seconds after kick-off after a great pass from Nebel and a fantastic dummy, but Metz keeper Delacroix was well-placed to make the save. The French keeper appeared to be in fine form, also saving a beautiful curling free-kick from Kunde in the seventh minute, before a headed effort from Nebel from an Öztunali cross missed the target just a minute later. Just as things were two hours previously, Mainz had the majority of the chances in the early stages as the Frenchmen looked for holes in the Zerofivers’ defence. The first chance for the newly-promoted team came through Ambam after a corner that wasn’t cleared far enough. The curled effort went just wide of goal, but Zentner was well-placed to make a save in any case (26’). The last two chances of the half came right at the end as Jallow fired just wide for Metz (43’) and a follow-up shot from Barriero after a corner also went wide (45’).
Unlucky for Akono, determined Öztunali
After the change of ends, both teams needed some time to get back on their feet again. The first hairy moment in the Mainz box came just before the hour mark as Zentner had to deal with an effort from Boye (58’). At the other end of the pitch, Nebel hesitated for slightly too long after a great would-be assist from Eyibil and a defensive block stopped him scoring from a promising position (60’). The young Mainz team became braver as they grew in confidence. Following another great ball from Eyibil in the final third, Akono burst down the line, but couldn’t connect with the ball properly from a tight angle (65’). The Mainz XI peppered with young talents managed to keep the French team at eye-level over the entire 90 minutes, but breathed a deep sigh of relief in the 72nd minute as a shot from Jallow from around 20 years out scraped over the crossbar.
Akono had another effort in the dying minutes, but struck the ball to the keeper from the edge of the area and Delacroix had no problem keeping the danger out (83’). Just as it seemed like the match would end goalless, Öztunali had his time to shine. The U21 Euro runner-up plucked up his courage, beat two defenders and hit the ball home from close range, giving the French keeper no chance – 1-0 (85’)! The last-minute goal came at the perfect time as the final whistle blew moments later and it secured the Zerofivers their second 1-0 win over FC Metz of the day ahead of the DFB-Pokal match in Kaiserslautern next Saturday.
Mainz 05: Zentner (74’ Dahmen) – Papela, Gürleyen, Hack, Kölle – Barreiro, Nebel, Kunde (46‘ Tauer), Eyibil, Öztunali – AkonoNews Detail
Goals: Öztunali (85’)