Mainz climbed up to 11th in the Bundesliga with Jean-Philippe Mateta and Alexander Hack on target in a 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart, who remain in the relegation play-off place.
Goals: 0-1 Ascacibar (o.g. 22’), 0-2 Mateta (28’), 0-3 Hack (72’), 1-3 Gonzalez (83’), 2-3 Kempf (85’)
With Bayern Munich-bound Benjamin Pavard injured and Andreas Beck not fully fit, Markus Weinzierl experimented with Gonzalo Castro at right-back. The decision looked unlikely to bear any fruit with Mainz attacking that flank for the opener. Jean-Philippe Gbamin burst into the box and forced a save from Ron-Robert Zieler, and his parry only got as far as Jean-Paul Boetius, who volleyed home the opener via Ascacibar’s outstretched leg. Mainz doubled their advantage soon after, with Robin Quaison and Jean-Philippe Mateta combining well before the latter steered his sixth goal of the season into the bottom corner. Stuttgart forced a pair of saves from Florian Müller towards the end of the half, but Tobias Stieler’s half-time whistle went with the visitors looking comfortable nonetheless.
Argentine attacker Nicolas Gonzalez replaced Dennis Aogo at half-time and made a quick impact, firing off a trio of shots which narrowly missed the target before the hour was out. That none of them found the target seemed to lift the visitors, and they pulled further clear soon after when Hack got free in the penalty box to prod home Aaron Martin’s corner. However, Stuttgart gathered themselves and a late surge culminated with Gonzelez heading home a richly deserved goal from a Christian Gentner cross, Marc-Oliver Kempf forcing home another minutes later, and Mario Gomez hitting the post with one of the last attacks of the game, but it proved to be too little too late and it ended 3-2 to Mainz.
- Having scored one goal in his first nine Bundesliga games following his summer transfer from Lyon, Mateta has now bagged five in his last nine.
- Mainz sealed a club record third consecutive win against Stuttgart.
- Hack’s goal was his first in more than a year. The centre-back’s last Bundesliga strike came on 13 January 2018, when he scored in a 3-2 loss at Hannover.
- Stuttgart have never failed to score at home to Mainz in the Bundesliga, finding the target 24 times in 12 meetings at their Mercedes-Benz Arena since 2004.
- The first of Gomez’s 168 Bundesliga goals was scored against Mainz back in September 2005, in a 2-1 win for Stuttgart. He has five in 2018/19.
- Kempf’s late strike was his first in the Bundesliga for more than three years.
Stuttgart: Zieler – Castro, Baumgartl, Kempf, Sosa (Insua 46’) – Gentner (c), Zuber, Ascacibar, Aogo (Gonzalez 46’), Esswein (Donis 78’) – Gomez
Unused subs: Grahl, Thommy, Badstuber, Beck
Out: Pavard (thigh), Meyer (knee)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Mainz: Müller – Brosinski, Bell (c), Hack, Martin – Gbamin, Kunde, Öztunali – Boetius (Holtmann 68’) – Mateta (Niakhate 87'), Quaison (Ujah 82’)
Unused subs: Zentner, Maxim, Issah, Baku
Out: Barreiro (exams), Adler (knee), Berggreen (hamstring), Burkardt (adductor), Onisiwo (flu), Latza (calf)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz