Two goals and two assists for Julian Brandt helped Bayer Leverkusen put five past Mainz, with four of them coming in a fantastic first half on Friday night.
Goals: 0-1 Wendell (5’), 1-1 Quaison (9’), 1-2 Havertz (20’), 1-3 Brandt (30’), 1-4 Bellarabi (43’), 1-5 Brandt (64')
You’ll do very well to find a better half of football in the Bundesliga this season – unless you’re a Mainz fan or player. Wendell got the show on the roll with a tap-in following Karim Bellarabi’s cut-back to the face of goal, but the home side immediately bounced back just four minutes later. Alexander Hack’s flick from a corner fell to Robin Quaison at the back post for him to hit home his fifth goal of the season. From that moment on, though, the first half was Leverkusen’s. Kai Havertz put his side ahead once again after Julian Brandt’s outstanding pass from the left wing found the teenager on the edge of the box, and his first-time finish made it look easy.
Ten minutes later and the lead was doubled, this time with Brandt providing the finishing touch. He followed his pass to Kevin Volland into the box and the German international completed the one-two before Brandt coolly slotted home past a helpless Florian Müller. The Mainz defence couldn’t handle the pace and precision of the Leverkusen attack, which struck for a fourth time before the break after 43 minutes. Brandt broke through the midfield before laying the ball off to Bellarabi on the right corner of the box. His first-time strike sent the ball on an impossible-to-stop path into the bottom corner to complete the first half scoring. The first time Leverkusen had scored four goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game since April 2004, against Kaiserslautern.
The away side started the second half as they'd finished the first and dominate proceedings throughout. Midway through the half and a fifth goal was struck, and a second for Brandt. His perfect connection with Volland worked wonders again as another one-two played the 22-year-old in on goal for him to secure his first ever Bundesliga brace. Brandt received a standing ovation when substituted before the end as Leverkusen cruised, in the end, to all three points.
- Leverkusen scored four goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game for the fourth time in their history.
- Kai Havertz now has eight goals in the 2018/19 season. That’s one more than his previous two seasons combined.
- Julian Brandt contributed to four of Leverkusen's five goals, with two goals along with two assists.
- Robin Quaison scored his fifth goal of the season - a personal record for him in the Bundesliga.
- Leverkusen have now won each of their last three away matches. They have now won more points on the road (17) than at home (16).
- The away side ran over six kilometres further than their hosts on the night.
Mainz: Müller – Brosinski, Bell (c), Hack, Niakhate, Martin (Onisiwo 62')– Barreiro, Kunde (Gbamin 55’)– Boetius (Hotlmann 71') – Quaison, Mateta
Unused subs: Zentner, Maxim, Öztunali, Ujah
Out: Adler (knee), Berggreen (hamstring), Bungert (illness), Latza (concussion), Mwene (knee)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell (Jedvaj 78') – Havertz (Baumgartlinger 62'), Aranguiz, Brandt (Alario 81') – Bellarabi, Volland (c), Bailey
Unused subs: Özcan, Dragovic, Paulinho, Kohr
Out: L. Bender (thigh), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Retsos (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz