Christopher Nkunku spares RB Leipzig in Mainz


Christopher Nkunku's seventh Bundesliga goal of the season secured a point for RB Leipzig at Mainz's Mewa Arena.

Mainz 1-1 RB Leipzig
Goals: 1-0
Ingvartsen 46' (assist: Stach), 1-1 Nkunku 80' (assist: Halstenberg)

Mainz survived a couple of close shaves in the early stages as Timo Werner sent a difficult header off target, and Amadou Haidara headed a Nkunku cross against the upright. The 05ers showed signs of life midway through the first half when Marcus Ingvartsen flicked a header wide. Karim Onisiwo then forced Janis Blaswich into a fingertip save following a driving run in off the right-hand side. Leipzig's back-up goalkeeper blocked a Jae-sung Lee strike at his near post, before Robin Zentner was called on for the first time to stop Nkunku's threaded pass being turned goalwards by Emil Forsberg. That signalled the start of an all-action conclusion to the first half. Blaswich saved from Ingvartsen, who was adjudged to be in an offside position as Silvan Widmer stuck away the rebound, but Mainz came again and were rewarded. Anton Stach carved open the Leipzig defence and found Ingvartsen with a pass into the box. Despite the tight angle, the Dane hooked a fabulous finish into the far post for 1-0.

Leipzig didn't register a shot on goal in the first half, but were much improved in an attacking sense after the restart. Dominik Szoboszlai made the first meaningful in-roads to tee up for Nkunku, whose first touch evaded him just when it looked like he was about to pull the trigger in the box. The visitors had the ball in the net moments later, but ex-Mainz defender Abou Diallo's header from a Marcel Halstenberg free-kick was ruled out for offside. Zentner made himself big to deny Nkunku when one-on-one, and followed suit to thwart Werner from a similar position. Marco Rose introduced Andre Silva with under 20 minutes remaining. The Leipzig striker scored a UEFA Champions League brace against Celtic in midweek, but it was Nkunku popping up in the centre-forward position to head in Halstenberg's cross and level with 10 to go. Werner fired off target following good work by Silva as Mainz held on for a share of the spoils that keeps them locked on 12 points with Leipzig in mid table.


Match stats

  • Only Werder Bremen's Niclas Füllkrug has more (eight) Bundesliga goals this season than Nkunku.
  • The Frenchman's equaliser - his 38th in the Bundesliga - was his first headed goal.
  • Leipzig are one of four teams without an away win this season.
  • Mainz are yet to win at home, the 05ers taking three of their 12 points in front of their own fans.
  • Rose made 158 competitive appearances for Mainz as a player. He's never lost to his former club as a coach (W3, D1).
  • Ingvartsen scored his first Bundesliga goal of the campaign, on his third appearance this term.

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Mainz: Zentner - Widmer (c) (Da Costa 46'), Hack, Caci - Fernandes (Bell 82'), Kohr, Stach (Fulgini 86'), Aaron - Lee (Barreiro 65') - Ingvartsen (Burgzorg 65'), Onisiwo
Unused subs: Dahmen, Barkok, Leitsch, Weiper
Out: Burkardt (unconfirmed), Mustapha (thigh)
Coach: Bo Svensson

Leipzig: Blaswich - Henrichs, Orban (c), Diallo, Halstenberg - Haidara, Schlager (Kampl 73') - Szoboszlai (Silva 73'), Nkunku, Forsberg (Poulsen 79') - Werner
Unused subs: Nickisch, Simakan, Raum, Gvardiol, Novoa
Out: Gulacsi (knee), Klostermann (ankle), Laimer (ankle), Olmo (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose