Borussia Mönchengladbach summer signing Breel Embolo came off the bench and put in a match-winning performance, scoring one and creating another to help the Foals come from behind to win 3-1 in Mainz on Saturday.
Mainz 1-3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Goals: 1-0 Quaison (18'), 1-1 Lainer (32'), 1-2 Plea (78'), 1-3 Embolo (79')
Mainz lost their first two competitive games of the season without scoring – in the DFB Cup first round and away to Freiburg last week – and they began here as if determined to make amends immediately. And while they had a couple of early glimpses of goal, the first real chance of the game fell to Gladbach after a quarter of an hour when Marcus Thuram met Stefan Lainer's floated cross from the right, only to head straight at Florian Müller. Robin Quaison showed him how it was done moments later at the other end of the pitch, glancing in a Daniel Brosinski free-kick to put the hosts in front. The teams went into the half-time break on level terms, though, with Lainer lashing in the equaliser from close range after Mainz struggled to deal with a free-kick.
The hosts reemerged for the second half the better of the two teams and right-back Brosinski was at the heart of the best of their attacks: Quaison was a whisker away from connecting with a teasing from cross, Karim Onisiwo headed just wide from another devilish delivery and Brosinski himself curled a free-kick into the side netting. As is so often the case in football, those misses would come back to haunt Mainz. The introduction of Embolo around the hour-mark proved to be the turning point in the game as the powerful Swiss forward won a free-kick on the edge of the area, from which Alassane Plea put the Foals ahead with a low drive. Embolo killed the game off within a minute, latching on to Plea's through ball and finishing smartly past Müller to give Gladbach their first win of the season.
Watch: Embolo: “Always nice to score”
- Quaison scored his first-ever header in the Bundesliga, taking his overall tally to 13 goals in 65 top-flight outings in Germany.
- His strike was also Mainz's first this season in their third competitive outing of 2019/20.
- Quaison's effort was the first time in 2019 that Mainz have found the target from a free-kick. Their last such goal was when Jean-Philipp Mateta scored in Hoffenheim on 23 December 2018.
- USA international Fabian Johnson made his first start of the season for Gladbach here, replacing Embolo in the line-up.
- Plea scored from a free-kick for the first time in the Bundesliga.
- Embolo netted his first goal for the Foals in his 50th Bundesliga appearance.
Mainz: Müller – Brosinski, Hack, Niakhate, Martin – Kunde (Burkardt 82'), Fernandes (Baku 71'), Latza (c) – Boetius – Onisiwo, Quaison (Awoniyi 65')
Unused subs: Zentner, Pierre-Gabriel, Öztunali, Maxim, Gürleyen, Leandro Barreiro
Out: Bell (ankle), Ji (knee), Mateta (knee), Meier (muscular), Mwene (knee), St. Juste (dislocated shoulder)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Gladbach: Sommer (c) – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi (Jantschke 45+2'), Wendt – Benes, Zakaria, Johnson (Kramer 81') – Neuhaus – Thuram (Embolo 63'), Plea
Unused subs: Sippel, Herrmann, Raffael, Beyer, Traore, Bensebaini
Out: Hofmann (knee), Stindl (broken shin), Strobl (knee), Villalba (match fitness)
Coach: Marco Rose