Kevin Volland's first Bundesliga goal since February helped Bayer Leverkusen to a 1-0 win over Mainz on Saturday but, due to Borussia Mönchengladbach's victory over Hertha Berlin, Die Werkself have to settle for UEFA Europa League football next season.
With nothing but a win good enough for Leverkusen to leapfrog Gladbach into fourth place's UEFA Champions League berth, Die Werkself flew out of the traps and were ahead after just two minutes. Following a driving run from Nadiem Amiri, Volland's clever dummy and clinical finish past Florian Müller in the Mainz goal had Leverkusen purring early. It was near-instant reward for coach Peter Bosz, who preferred Volland in attack to 21-year-old talisman Kai Havertz. Also in need of a Gladbach defeat at home to Hertha, Leverkusen had done all they could to secure fourth by half-time of the final matchday of the season, but their spirits will have been dampened by news that their top-four rivals were also a goal to the good at the interval.
The hosts again flew out the traps and nearly doubled their lead two minutes after the restart, with substitute Mitchell Weiser heading onto the post. Mainz responded well and had the ball in the back of the net a minute later but Jean-Philippe Mateta's composed finish was ruled out for offside. Leverkusen - who also had a second-half goal wiped out - held on for the win, but it was ultimately in vain as Gladbach claimed victory at Borussia Park to seal fourth and UEFA Champions League football for next season. As a result, Leverkusen will play in the UEFA Europa League in 2020/21, a tournament they turn their attentions to when the rejigged current edition resumes in August. They also have next weekend's DFB Cup final against Bayern Munich to look forward to. As for Achim Beierlorzer's side, they close out the campaign 13th in the table, safe in the knowledge that the Bundesliga will return to the Opel Arena next year.
- Volland's opener was his 10th of the season and first in the league since hitting a brace in the 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 21 back in February.
- It ended the Germany international's run of nine games and five years without a goal against Mainz. He now has three in 16 games overall against the 05ers.
- Havertz has won on five of his seven Bundesliga appearances against Mainz and has scored in two of his last four games against them.
- Mainz have now lost each of the last five Bundesliga meetings between these two sides, scoring just once and conceding 10 times in the process.
- Having scored the first Bundesliga goal of his career in the win over Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 31, 19-year-old Jonathan Burkardt made just his third start in the German top-flight.
- The 28 Bundesliga fixtures between these two teams to date have averaged 2.8 goals per game.
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Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c) (Weiser 46'), Tah, S. Bender, Sinkgraven (Tapsoba 85') - Baumgartlinger, Demirbay (Aranguiz 46') - Wirtz, Amiri (Havertz 65'), Bailey (Diaby 65') - Volland
Unused subs: Özcan, Paulinho, Alario, Palacios
Out: Dragovic (suspended)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Mainz: Müller - Baku, St. Juste (Hack 74'), Niakhate, Martin (Brosinski 46') - Kunde, Latza (c) - Burkardt (Fernandes 85'), Quaison (Öztunali 69'), Onisiwo - Mateta (Dong-won 69')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Bell, Szalai, Barreiro Martins
Out: Boetius (suspended), Bruma (knee), Zentner (knee), Awoniyi (concussion)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer