On Friday evening, Mainz gave a fitting answer to their defeat in Düsseldorf, with a thrilling win over Köln on the ninth matchday. Köln took the lead early through Simon Terodde, but wonderful goals from Jean-Paul Boëtius (21’), Robin Quaison (57’) and Levin Öztunali (82’) meant the home side grabbed a well-deserved 3-1 win. Goalkeeper Robin Zentner had a fantastic evening, saving his team on several occasions.
Sandro Schwarz had made three changes to his starting line-up. Ridle Baku, Ádám Szalai and Robin Quaison came in for Edimilson Fernandes (suspension), Onisiwo and Taiwo Awoniyi (both on the bench).
The game began with a shock moment from a Mainz point of view, but Frank Willenborg blew for offside and the scare was over. At first, Zentner parried Terodde’s shot with a world-class save, but Florian Kainz's latched onto the rebound and he found the back of the net, but a Cologne attacker was adjudged to be stood in an offside position, obstructing the vision of the FSV ‘keeper (4’). At the other end of the pitch, two minutes later, the hosts were looking dangerous for the first time in the match. Szalai rose to meet Aarón’s free-kick, but did get enough on it and it was headed clear (6’). The visitors took the lead a little while later. Moussa Niakhaté's long shot turned into a quick counter, with Germany international Jonas Hector shifting the ball to Terodde, who left Zentner in a twist (14’). But the Zerofivers reacted and pushed for a quick equalizer. Boëtius almost got it shortly after. Timo Horn reacted excellently to a deflected long-range effort (15’). FSV became stronger and stronger and almost made it 1-1 in the 19th minute. Öztunali volleyed from Aarón’s cross, but the ball fizzed past the left post. Another chance presented itself soon after. Szalai held his ground brilliantly in the penalty area, feeding Boëtius, who left Sebastiaan Bornauw behind and put it past Horn from close range to bring the score level (21’). This was the turning point, and Mainz were in control from then on.
The chances were coming more and more often. In the 32nd minute, Kunde was unlucky to see his header blocked by Bornauw. Two minutes later, Mainz produced a beautiful attack; Öztunali played it down the line for Brosinksi, who whipped a cross in towards Quaison, but a defender blocked his shot into the side netting (34’). The last offensive action of an intense half came when Aarón’s shot was easily dealt with by Horn.
Quaison with the wonder goal, Öztunali puts a lid on it
In much the same way as in the first half, Köln came out onto the pitch with lots of attacking intent. Schaub dribbled into the centre of the pitch and his shot was deflected off Kunde, but Zentner got down quickly, making another great save (49’). The Mainz stopper was called into action again just three minutes later, when Schaub forced Zentner to intervene (52’). After the next corner, the hosts countered quickly. Boëtius set Brosinski free, who, after an 80 metre sprint, lacked the final touch to send it into Horn’s goal (53’). Yet, four minutes later, Quaison did have the final touch, hammering the ball in from 25 metres out. There was no way Horn was stopping it from going in, and Mainz were up 2-1. After a good hour, Zentner once again showed his quality. Again Terodde popped up in space in front of him, again Zentner came out on top (62’).
Kainz's 74-minute free-kick heralded the final phase of the match, but his shot was narrowly wide. Onisiwo, who had come onto the pitch just minutes before,had an opportunity to grab the winner in the 80th minute. He had beaten Hector strongly, but was denied by a Horn save. Baku's shot two minutes later slid past the Köln goal. Öztunali finally broke the spell. Onisiwo passed the ball to him at exactly the right moment, and the midfielder slid it past Horn at his near post. Terodde had a go in the 86th minute, but his shot flew over the bar. Zentner had the final say in injury time, the ‘keeper was on hand to stop Kainz's free-kick. With their second home win of the season, FSV now have nine points from nine games and are back in midtable. Next Saturday (15.30 CEST), Mainz will be face a huge challenge in Leipzig. One week later, Union Berlin come to the OPEL ARENA.