Rouwen Hennings's second-half goal was enough for Fortuna Düsseldorf to overcome 10-man Mainz in a game in which USA international Zack Steffen recorded his first Bundesliga clean sheet.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-0 Mainz
Goals: 1-0 Hennings (82')
Red Card: Fernandes (45’+1)
In the first half, Mainz had the majority of possession and moved the ball around well, though they did little to trouble Düsseldorf’s in-form American keeper Steffen. Clear-cut scoring chances were at a premium with neither side willing to yield an inch in a hotly-contested battle for control of the midfield. Perhaps the best chance came from Düsseldorf’s Kenan Karaman, who made a blazing run down the touchline before neatly cutting inside between two Mainz defenders and unleashing a ferocious shot that went just over the bar. The match turned on the stroke of half-time, however, when Edmilson Fernandes received a second yellow for a raised boot that left Fortuna's Matthias Zimmerman on the in a heap.
Having gone a man down, Mainz had to work extra hard to keep hold of the ball, with coach Sandro Schwarz electing to replace Liverpool loanee Taiwo Awoniyi with Danny Latza at the start of the second half. The extra man led to the home side seeing far more possession than in the first half, and Fortuna nearly made their numerical advantage count with 25 minutes left in the match, when Kasim Adams saw a pair of headers saved by Robin Zentner. Relentless pressure from Düsseldorf was finally rewarded in the 82nd minute, though, with Hennings perfectly placed in the centre of the box to turn Niko Gießelmann’s cross under Zentner and end Fortuna's six-match winless run.
- Fortuna had not kept a clean sheet in 16 matches dating back to last season.
- Hennings scored his fifth goal of the season; each of his strikes have given his side a 1-0 lead.
- The game marked Friedhelm Funkel’s first victory over Mainz as a top-flight coach (W1,D5, L2).
- Awoniyi made his first Bundesliga start for Mainz.
- Mainz have conceded 13 goals on their travels this season. Only Augsburg have shipped more (14).
Düsseldorf: Steffen – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Adams, Gießelmann – Bodzek (Sobottka 86'), Hoffmann – Tekpetey (Kownacki 66'), Karaman (Thommy 82'), Zimmer – Hennings (c) (82')
Unused subs: Kastenmeier, Pledl, Contento, Ampomah, Borumuth, Baker
Out: Barkok (shoulder), Fink (thigh), Morales (ill) Rensing (shoulder), Stöger (match fitness), Suttner (groin), Wolf (inner ear)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
Mainz: Zentner – Brosinski, St. Juste, Niakhate, Martin – Öztunali, Kunde (Szalai 85'), Fernandes – Boetius – Onisiwo (Quaison 71'), Awoniyi (Latza 45')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Maxim, Burkhardt, Baku, Barreiro, Hack
Out: Bell (ankle), Ji (knee), Mateta (knee), Müller (ill)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Watch: Steffen happy with Düsseldorf clean sheet