Two Karim Onisiwo goals either side of former Mainz man Kevin Stöger's effort were enough to ensure the 05ers started the new season by claiming all three points at Bochum.
Mainz made the trip to Bochum without both star striker Jonathan Burkardt and newly-appointed captain Silvan Widmer as both camps started the campaign with a number of new faces in their ranks. One of them familiar to both sides almost made the early breakthrough as Stöger, who arrived at Bochum from Mainz in the summer, seized on Robin Zentner's clearance, but fired over with what would have been a spectacular effort from the centre circle. Zentner, wearing the 05ers' armband in the place of Widmer, then brilliantly repelled Gerrit Holtmann's stinging volley and the 05ers also survived a penalty check for handball before Onisiwo expertly headed them in front from Edmilson Fernandes' cross. The Austria international should have soon had a second, but he cleared the crossbar when through on goal. Moments later, Stöger caught Zentner out again; this time accidentally but, crucially, his overhit cross from the left sailed over his former teammate and into the far corner.
The home side again started the brighter but were given a scare just after the break as Japan international Takuma Asano went down after a clash of heads. Fortunately, Asano was able to re-join the action as he and his team looked to press for a winner. The visitors, too, went in search of a second by introducing Delano Burgzog and Leandro Barreiro with a little under half an hour to play but goalmouth action was few and far between in the second period. Konstantinos Stafylidis' wild effort from range that troubled the corner flag more than the goal summed up a second-half devoid of clear-cut chances. The more the match wore on, the more it appeared that a third goal would likely prove decisive and so it was as Onisiwo planted a second superb header into the Bochum net to give Mainz all three points.
- After four seasons at Mainz, Stöger returned to Bochum in the summer and the Austrian's goal against his former club now takes his career VfL tally to eight strikes in 42 appearances, compared to four in 45 for the 05ers.
- Bochum may have beaten Mainz 2-0 at home last season, but that is their only victory in nine Bundesliga meetings with the 05ers.
- It took Onisiwo until Matchday 9 to score the first of his five Bundesliga goals last season but he needed just 26 minutes of the new campaign to open his 2022/23 account and 77 minutes to grab his second.
- Stefan Bell made his 250th competitive appearance as a Mainz player.
- Mainz picked up just 11 of their 46 points last season on the road but they have now won their last two away games across their final trip of 2021/22 and first of 2022/23.
Bochum: Riemann - Gamboa (Janko 87'), Masovic, Ordets, Stafylidis - Losilla (c), Stöger - Asano, Zoller (Osei-Tutu 76'), Holtmann (Förster 81') - Hofmann (Ganvoula 76')
Unused subs: Esser, Osterhage, Antwi-Adjei, Lampropoulos, Tolba
Out: Goralski (eye), Horn (thigh), Soares (hip)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Mainz: Zentner (c) - Bell, Hack, Leitsch - Fernandes (Caci 90+3'), Kohr, Stach, Aaron - Lee (Barreiro 62'), Fulgini (Burgzorg 62') - Onisiwo
Unused subs: Dahmen, Barkok, Ingvartsen, Lucoqui, Papeta, Mustapha
Out: Burkardt (muscular), da Costa (pubic bone), Tauer (thigh), Widmer (illness)
Coach: Bo Svensson
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