Surprise package Mainz maintained their upward momentum with an ultimately comfortable win at struggling Fürth on Matchday 19. Second-half strikes from Adam Szalai, with a brace, and Yunus Malli wrapped up the points for Thomas Tuchel's troops and moved them up to fifth in the standings in the process. Fürth, still with just one solitary win all season, remain rooted at the bottom on nine points.
Mainz break the deadlock
The encounter got off to a low-key start, with niggling fouls on both sides interrupting the early flow of play. Against their deep-lying hosts, Mainz were seeing much more of the ball as the first half progressed, but they were struggling to make much creative capital out of the situation - much to the evident frustration of Tuchel on the touchline.
In a rare Fürth foray forward shortly before the break, Junior Diaz fired Sercan Sararer's knock-down into the side netting, and that was pretty much that for first half. For the second, home coach Mike Büskens brought on new frontman Nikola Djurdjic, but it was at the other end of the pitch that the match suddenly sprang into life. Eight minutes in, Fürth keeper Wolfgang Hesl could only knock a first-time effort from Andreas Ivanschitz into the path of Szalai and the on-form striker took his season tally into double figures with a shot that took a deflection off a couple of defenders on its way into the net.
With 25 minutes to go, FSV struck again to leave their Franconian hosts with a very steep hill to climb. After Nicolai Müller and Szalai had been foiled by first Hesl, then a goalline clearance from Thomas Kleine, Yunus Malli coolly dispatched the ball at the third time of asking. Two down, Fürth showed little sign of being able to turn their performance around and get back into the contest. Szalai wrapped up the result in style in the 84th minute, running clear to lob the ball over the onrushing Hesl and in off the inside of the post.
Line-ups and statistics