Mainz - 1. FSV Mainz 05 came out on top in the battle of the Bundesliga surprise packages on Saturday afternoon with a deserved 3-0 victory over fellow European hopefuls FC Augsburg.
Only one winner
Both sides slipped up in their efforts to nail down a top-six finish midweek, and accordingly began ferociously at the Coface Arena, determined to make amends. After resting several first team regulars on Tuesday, home coach Thomas Tuchel restored his far eastern trio of Joo-Ho Park, Ja-Cheol Koo and Shinji Okazaki to the starting XI and the hosts looked strong as they pushed for an early lead. Augsburg competed well initially, but Niko Bungert’s delicate flick from a corner in the 23rd minute - his first goal in over two years - put Mainz in front.
The hosts increased their lead in bizarre fashion before the break after the visitors failed to deal with Maxim Choupo-Moting’s shot. The ball rebounded off the post and when Matthias Ostrzolek tried to hoof it away, his powerful clearance hit goalkeeper Marwin Hitz square in the face, knocking him to the floor and diverting the ball over the line. There was little to see of Augsburg at the other end though, allowing Mainz to dominate much of the match with ease.
The onus was on Augsburg to take the game by the scruff of the neck and although they tried to open up the play down the wings, Mainz’s compact midfield and defence prevented them from making much progress. Not that Mainz were merely running down the clock. Urged on by an animated Tuchel on the sidelines, the 05ers crowned a disciplined display when Johannes Geis’ long-range effort flew into the net to put the result beyond any doubt and move - temporarily at least - above Borussia Mönchengladbach into sixth.
Line-ups and statistics
Click below to watch the incident that knocked out the keeper and put Mainz up by two on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: