Jonathan Burkardt may have gone a fifth game without a goal but he provided a superb assist for Jeremiah St. Juste's only goal of the game as Mainz beat Bochum 1-0 at the MEWA Arena on Saturday.
Having lost their previous two Bundesliga matches, Mainz were hoping to reset their course with the visit of Bochum, who themselves had won just one of their last four. The hosts started much the better side and looked in control of the game until, on 30 minutes, Stefan Bell was adjudged to have brought Sebastian Polter in the box. Polter picked himself up to take the penalty against his former club - after winning a brief debate with Milos Pantovic over who should have the honours - and he was denied from 12-yards by Robin Zentner to keep the scores level. For all their good build-up, Mainz were unable to carve out any first-half chances of note and Zentner again had to be sharp to cut out Christopher Antwi-Adjei's fierce cross on the stroke of half-time.
Mainz again began brightly after the break and it took a stunning fingertip save from Manuel Riemann to deny Burkardt's excellent header. The 05ers would not be denied from the resulting corner, though. Bochum managed to clear the initial cross but Mainz were able to work the ball back to Burkardt out wide on the right and his pinpoint cross along the carpet was stroked home by St. Juste. Jae-sung Lee should have doubled his side's lead shortly after the hour mark but could only fire over when one-on-one with Riemann as Mainz dominated second-half proceedings. And they would go on to seal a deserved victory that moves Bo Svensson's side back into the top-half, for the time being at least.
Watch: St. Juste on his winning return from a shoulder injury
- St. Juste was making his first appearance since Matchday 7, ending his 11-game Bundesliga absence.
- The Dutch defender scored the third Bundesliga goal of his career and first since scoring against Bayern Munich on 1 February 2020.
- Five matches without a goal marks Burkardt's longest barren run of the current campaign, but he has been involved in nine goals in his last 12 Bundesliga matches (six goals, three assists).
- Mainz are unbeaten in their last six home matches in the Bundesliga (W4, D2), and have only lost once on their own patch all season.
- Polter made 15 appearances for Mainz without scoring.
- Bochum have claimed just six points from 10 away games. Only bottom side Greuther Fürth - with zero points - have a worse away record.
Mainz: Zentner (c) - St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate - Widmer, Barreiro, Stach, Lee (Stöger 80'), Martin (Lucoqui 90+3') - Onisiwo (Boëtius 90+3'), Burkardt (Nebel 80')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Brosinski, Nemeth, Papela
Out: Hack (suspended), Ingvartsen (groin), Kohr (thigh), Szalai (head)
Coach: Bo Svensson
Bochum: Riemann - Gamboa, Bella-Kotchap, Leitsch, Stafylidis - Pantovic (Blum 61'), Losilla (c), Löwen (Locadia 80') - Asano (Rexhbecaj 61'), Polter, Antwi-Adjei (Bockhorn 80')
Unused subs: Esser, Masovic, Osterhage, Tesche, Lampropoulos
Out: Grave (shoulder), Zoller (knee)
Coach: Thomas Reis
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