Spoils shared as Foals draw 1-1 in Mainz
Borussia Mönchengladbach were held to a 1-1 draw against 1. FSV Mainz 05 in matchday 11’s opening fixture in the Bundesliga, with Florian Neuhaus’ first-half goal eventually cancelled out by the home side.
It was a feisty first 45 minutes in front of 25,000 fans at the Mewa Arena, with plenty of tackles flying around from both teams. Unfortunately for Gladbach, both Nico Elvedi and Breel Embolo had to leave the pitch early with injuries. Despite the enforced changes, the away side didn’t allow themselves to be fazed and grabbed the opening goal when Florian Neuhaus pounced on a goalkeeping error. A couple of chances went begging late in the half to add to the lead, before the flow of game switched in the other direction after the change of ends. Yann Sommer put in a Man of the Match performance to deny a string of dangerous Mainz chances, but was helpless against Silvan Widmer’s curling equaliser as the hosts’ pressure finally and deservedly told to ensure that the points were shared.
Adi Hütter made just one change to the side that beat Bochum, with Luca Netz replacing Lars Stindl. That meant a change of system, reverting back to a 3-4-3. Yann Sommer in goal was protected by a back-three of Ramy Bensebaini, Nico Elvedi and Matthias Ginter, with Netz and Joe Scally taking up wing-back positions. The midfield pairing remained Denis Zakaria and Manu Koné, while Alassane Plea, Breel Embolo and Jonas Hofmann formed the three-man attack. The injury to Elvedi saw Zakaria drop into the middle of the back-three, with substitute Neuhaus taking his place in midfield.
The Foals were without Jordan Beyer (thigh), Tony Jantschke (facial fractures), Christoph Kramer (thigh), Stefan Lainer (broken ankle) and Mamadou Doucouré (Achilles) for the trip to Mainz.
7’: A free-kick from Hofmann is headed on target by Ginter, only for Embolo to accidentally get in the way and block the shot.
10’: The first chance for Mainz is also a header. This one flies just wide of the target from Burkardt.
15’: A big last-ditch tackle from Zakaria puts the ball behind for a corner just as Onisiwo was getting ready to shoot.
22’: Aaron’s free-kick takes a slight deflection off the wall and Sommer is able to react to punch the ball behind. The resulting corner is headed just wide by Burkardt.
35’: The ball drops to Netz in the box. He turns and shoots with his weaker right foot, but there’s not enough power behind the shot to trouble Zentner.
38’: There’s the opener! Thuram holds up the ball brilliantly and hands it off to Bensebaini around 30 yards out. The Algerian decides to have a pop and his daisy-cutter is spilled by Zentner, allowing Neuhaus to gobble up the rebound. 1-0 to Gladbach.
42’: It’s a free header for Bensebaini in the centre, but he fluffs his lines and the ball zips wide of the goal.
45+4’: Thuram chases a long through ball down and works a bit of space to shoot, but his effort can’t quite find the bottom corner.
46’: Mainz are strong out of the interval and Sommer has to be too. Lee’s thunderous shot looks destined for the top corner, but the Gladbach goalkeeper somehow gets a fingertip onto it to deflect it over.
60’: Hack rises highest from a Mainz corner. Fortunately, his header lands on the roof of the net.
65’: World-class goalkeeping from Sommer. He pulls off two brilliant saves in the space of 40 seconds to first deny Lee and then Burkardt.
67’: Borussia’s first decent opening of the half comes via a mistake by Boetius. Plea takes the ball and drives at the defence before shooting, but it’s a relatively comfortable stop for Zentner.
77’: The equaliser – it had been coming. Sommer can do absolutely nothing this time as Widmer curls a left-footed shot into the top corner via the inside of the post. 1-1.
81’: Herrmann heads the ball down for Neuhaus to attack, but he’s leaning back and the ball sails well over the top.
Mainz: Zentner – Bell, Hack, Niakhaté – Widmer, Kohr (88’ Barreiro), Aaron, Lee (70’ Stach), Boetius – Onisiwo (88’ Ingvartsen), Burkardt (81’ Szalai)
Borussia: Sommer – Elvedi (28’ Neuhaus), Ginter, Bensebaini – Scally, Netz (78’ Herrmann) – Zakaria, Koné – Hofmann, Plea (78’ Stindl), Embolo (30’ Thuram) / Unused subs: Sippel, Bénes, Wolf, Müsel, Bennetts
Goals: 0-1 Neuhaus (38’), 1-1 Widmer (76’)
Attendance: 25,000 (sold-out)
Yellow cards: Lee, Bell, Boetius – Elvedi, Koné, Bensebaini
Referee: Robert Schröder (Hannover)