Mainz - The ten men of Mainz downed Hannover 96 with Nicolai Müller and Adam Szalai on target for Thomas Tuchel’s men and Christian Schulz scoring only a consolation for the guests in a 2-1 defeat with the hosts playing much of the second half with one man less after Christian Wetklo’s red card.
Mainz, triumphant in Frankfurt in midweek, appeared to have received an injection of confidence with that win as they took to the field at the Coface Arena with a certain swagger about them. Shawn Parker was the unexpected hero of the midweek derby and Tuchel kept his faith in him, and he tried to repay it early on when his speculative shot took a deflection off Karim Haggui to loop over the goal.
Only ten minutes were on the clock when Mainz took the lead, thanks also to the endeavours of Parker, whose shot was too hot for Ron-Robert Zieler to handle as he palmed it onto the post. Müller was the quickest to react as he pounced on the loose ball to give the home team a deserved lead.
It could be said that the goal came too early in the game, leaving as it did 80 minutes for Mainz to defend against Hannover’s inevitable reaction, yet they only held firm for 18 minutes. Lars Stindl’s shot was deflected and Schulz somehow managed to bundle the ball over the line as he fell.
Mainz’s hopes of launching an assault on victory in the second half were dented when Wetklo saw red for handling the ball outside his penalty area. Parker was sacrificed as Loris Karius came on, and he was called into action immediately to push a Christian Pander shot away. The home team regrouped and managed to find a winner in the 89th minute when Eugen Polanski’s cross was met by Szalai, who nodded the ball in for all three points.
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