Pros 10.09.2022 — 18:47 Uhr

Tough day in Hoffenheim

The Zerofivers dominate the opening stages, waste several opportunities to take the lead before losing their way in the game, along with Burkardt and Hack.

A decisive moment in the game: Jonny Burkardt is forced off early in the game following a strong challenge from a Hoffenheim defender.

With the 4-1 defeat at TSG Hoffenheim, 1. FSV Mainz 05 suffered their second defeat of the season on Saturday afternoon. The guests were ferocious out of the blocks and had the lead within their reach several times, but lost their momentum after Jonny Burkardt’s injury-related substitution and then Alexander Hack’s red card shortly before half time. TSG made the extra player count after the break, storming into the lead through goals from Andrej Kramaric, Grischa Prömel and Munas Dabbur. Dominik Kohr scored a conciliation goal in the closing stages, but Hoffenheim would have the final word when Pavel Kaderabek made it 4-1in injury time. Little things during the course of the game ultimately ensured that the hosts, despite being under the cosh in the opening stages, earned a deserved win in Kraichgau.

Bo Svensson made one change to the starting eleven that beat Borussia Möchengladbach last weekend; Angelo Fulgini was promoted to the starting line up in the place of Jae-sung Lee (bench), who had been injured during the week. Danny da Costa made his first appearance in the Mainz matchday squad this season, in place of Anton Stach, who was suffering with a hip problem. 

The visitors had their first glimpse of goal after just 60 seconds. Aarón sent a free-kick into the path of Alexander Hack, who laid it down to Fulgini in the six-yard box. Fulgini, however, was unable to hit the target from a tight angle (2nd minute).  

In front of nearly 4,000 travelling Mainz fans, the Zerofivers put on a courageous display, disrupting Hoffenheim’s build-up play early in the game and were playing attractive and attacking football. The best chance to take the lead came in the fourth minute. Alexander Hack played a long chip through to Karim Onisiwo, who then placed the follow-up pass into the path of strike partner of Burkardt. Burkardt’s shot, however, was down the throat of Oliver Baumann, and the keeper was able to diffuse the dangerous situation (4th minute). Just like against Möchengladbach, a week ago, the Zerofivers were playing on the front-foot and with fantastic self-confidence. And it was Burkardt, again, who would come close to giving Mainz the lead when he latched onto Onisiwo’s brilliantly placed cross. The captain of Germany’s U21 side, despite his promising position, shot about two metres wide of the post. In the opening stages, TSG had no answers to the aggression and dominance of the guests, who should have been in the lead after the first ten minutes. The game would have a sour ending for Burkardt, however; following an aggressive challenge from Kevin Akpoguma, the home-grown star was forced to leave the pitch with an injury. He was replaced by Delano Burgzorg. The hosts must have blown a big sigh of relief when looking at the scoreboard after the opening 15 minutes. Hoffenheim first showed the danger they possess in the 19th minute, when a cross from Prömel whizzed through the Mainz penalty area, but fortunately found no one to poke it home.

TSG had weathered the storm of Svensson’s team for the time being and managed to keep the game open without any clear-cut chances in and around the penalty area. In the 26th minute, there was half a chance for the hosts, as Georginio Rutter crossed from the flank but could not find Kramaric, who was lurking at the back post. Following the substitution of Burkardt, Mainz were trying to calm the pace of the game down, lost a bit of momentum during this stage. Shortly after 30 minutes had gone by, FSV got back into the game when Onisiwo took a shot from 20 metres out. His shot, however, was deflected out for a corner. The stalemate after the opening half an hour was a fair reflection of the game.

While Mainz struggled to take advantage of their opportunities on the counter-attack, TSG were able to nearly open the scoring off a counter-attack of their own. Kramaric broke through on the left side, before crossing it to Christoph Baumgartner. His header only hit the side netting, however (38’). Moments before the break, FSV were dealt a heavy blow as Hack was sent off for a professional foul on Rutter. Referee Daniel Schlager had initially signaled a free kick, before VAR changed his decision to a penalty (41’). Kramaric stepped up to take it, but sent his kick wide of goal, as the teams headed into the break still deadlocked at 0-0.

Hoffenheim easily break down the Zerofivers

Svensson made one change at half-time, bringing on Niklas Tauer for Burgzorg in a tactical change following Hack’s sending off. FSV switched to a 5-3-1, and adjusted well to the change. TSG didn’t need long to record their first chance of the second half, with Zentner parrying a header from Baumgartner in the 46th minute. Hoffenheim won the ball and countered quickly, with Rutter beating Aarón on the goal line before crossing it into the box. Kramaric was then able to easily score the opener in the 52nd minute. With FSV down to 10 men, Hoffenheim were able to control both the ball and the flow of the game as the Zerofivers were stuck chasing after them.

Svensson made two more changes on the hour mark, bringing in Edimilson Fernandes and Lee for Leandro Barreiro and Fulgini. He also made another tactical change, getting his side to switch to a 4-4-1 with Tauer pushing up into defensive midfield. The change appeared to pay off immediately, with Mainz recording their first shot of the half shortly after. Lee picked out Kohr on the counter, whose shot was deflected out for a corner (66’). Moments later, Onisiwo was through on goal with only Baumann to beat, but wasn’t quick enough to make the most of the opportunity. Just as it seemed as though Mainz would be able to fight their way back into the match, TSG exploited another breakdown in the FSV backline. Kaderabek got on the end of a long ball, finding Baumgartner who laid it off to Prömel, who notched the goal to make it 2-0. Zentner was unable to prevent the goal, as it took a deflection off Tauer (69’).

From that moment on, Mainz were focused on trying to keep TSG from adding to the scoreline and not getting caught out. Anthony Caci replaced Aarón in the closing stages, with Zentner preventing Rutter from adding a third goal. Shortly after, he was helpless to stop Dabbur from making it 3-0, as he slotted home from close range (80’). The Zerofivers were able to notch a consolation goal through Kohr in the 83rd minute, but it was too late for a comeback. Kaderabek then put the game to bed with Hoffenheim’s fourth in the 92nd minute, once again catching Mainz on the counter-attack.

Next up, FSV will host former head coach Sandro Schwarz and Hertha BSC at the MEWA ARENA on Friday evening (20:30 CEST). The Zerofivers will be looking to get back to winning ways and to improve their current haul of 10 points from six games.