bundesliga

Adam Szalai the hero as Mainz leapfrog Werder Bremen in relegation battle

Adam Szalai scored his first Bundesliga goal since December 2019 to extend Mainz's unbeaten run to six games and send the ZeroFivers up to 13th in the table ahead of Werder Bremen.

Werder Bremen 0-1 Mainz
Goals: 0-1
Szalai (16')

Mainz's attempt at a great escape had seen them go five games unbeaten before their trip north to Bremen. And after a week off following the postponement of their game against Hertha Berlin, the ZeroFivers came flying out of the blocks here. Karim Onisiwo latched onto a slip from Milos Veljkovic in the home side's defence and after his shot was parried by Jiri Pavlenka, the rebound was mopped up by Szalai to open the scoring. Bremen responded well with Milot Rashica firing a free-kick just over before Niclas Füllkrug was played in on goal but fired straight at Robin Zentner, who kept him out. The next chance came Mainz's way with Leandro Barreiro inches from doubling the lead as he miscued his effort from Onisiwo's cross but still forced it on target, only for Pavlenka to tip it around the post. Just before the break, Bremen thought they had levelled but a foul was given after Zentner had dropped the ball from a corner before Barreiro's clearance bounced in off Josh Sargent.

Szalai had waited 15 months to score in the Bundesliga again but almost made it two in the same game just a couple of minutes into the second half. The Hungarian striker shot on the turn from 10 yards but saw his effort bounce down and back out off the crossbar. Maximilian Eggestein had fired wide just before the hour mark before Onisiwo had a shot saved by Zentner at the other end with both sides looking to add to the scoring. The home side continued to push on for an equaliser, but the Mainz defence didn't allow for many clear-cut chances on their goal. Robin Glatzel almost sealed the points on the break but fired inches wide across goal while Romano Schmid had a volley blaze just over Zentner's crossbar in the final minutes but in the end, Mainz held on to make it six games unbeaten and move five points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Bremen.

Match stats

  • Szalai scored his first Bundesliga goal since December 2019, after 1,190 minutes without a goal.
  • Bremen have lost their last six Bundesliga outings, their worst run since January-February 2020 (five defeats).
  • The 05ers are unbeaten in six league outings (W4, D2), their longest run without loss since November-December 2015 (W3, D3).
  • Mainz have now also won three of their last four matches on the road in the Bundesliga.
  • Mainz are looking to secure Bundesliga status for a 13th straight season, having won promotion most recently in 2008/09. During their current top-flight run they have finished in the bottom half eight times, although they did climb as high as fifth in 2010/11.

Watch: Adam Szalai feeling the love at Mainz

Line-ups

Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic, Moisander (c), Friedl (Schmid 78') - Gebre Selassie, Eggestein, Möhwald (Dinkci 85'), Augustinsson - Sargent, Rashica - Füllkrug (Selke 78')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Osako, Agu, Erras, Mbom, Bargfrede
Out: Bittencourt (ankle), Groß (suspended), Plogmann (knee), Toprak (calf), Woltemade (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt

Mainz: Zentner - St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate (c) - Brosinski, Barreiro (Hack 90'+2), Kohr (Latza 73'), Mwene - Boetius (Stöger 87') - Szalai (Glatzel 74'), Onisiwo (Burkardt 87')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Quaison
Out: Kilian (thigh), Nebel (foot)
Coach: Bo Svensson