Boateng’s first goal back in the Bundesliga punctuated an even encounter at the Coface Arena and gave Jens Keller's men all three points for the second game in a row while Mainz succumbed to their second straight defeat.
Mainz start brightly
Mainz appeared keen to bounce straight back from a 4-1 defeat to Hannover last time out, but they were not afforded too much room by a Schalke side buoyed by their first win of the season against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. When they did find space, Maxim Choupo-Moting failed to pose Timo Hildebrand any danger with the first shot of the game.
The Mainz forward was making a menace of himself against a deep-lying Schalke side, seemingly happy to soak up the hosts’ early pressure. Former Mainz forward Adam Szalai was seeing relatively little of the ball on his return to his former employers and it was no surprise to see him dropping back merely to get a touch of the ball.
Having seen out the first wave of Mainz pressure, the Royal Blues – playing in all green – started to take some of the initiative themselves, Jefferson Farfan displaying his usual creative side to carve out chances, the best of which was scuppered by Julian Draxler. Mainz remained a threat though, and Choupo-Moting’s next shot beat Hildebrand, but finished the wrong side of the post.
The guests eventually took the lead with Boateng showing exactly why he had been plucked from AC Milan, sending a delightful curling shot past Heinz Müller ten minutes before the break. It was his first Bundesliga goal since May 2007, when he was on target for Hertha Berlin against Eintracht Frankfurt, and it was the first time since last April that Mainz found themselves 1-0 down.
Schalke shut up shop
If only Choupo-Moting showed the same degree of accuracy with his shots, Mainz would not have found themselves trailing at the break as he missed two more before the whistle. His profligacy left the hosts with a mountain to climb in the second half, especially when it became clear that Schalke were content to defend their lead.
Even Boateng lent a hand in a more defensive system which still left scope for chances on the break, one of which was wasted by Draxler when he went within inches of putting the result beyond doubt just shy of the hour mark. Almost following Boateng’s lead by opening his Schalke account, Dennis Aogo forced Müller into a fine one-handed save from a free-kick, but there were to be no further goals in an otherwise entertaining encoutner.
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