Mainz - 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Hannover 96 each went home with a point after an entertaining goalless draw at the Coface Arena on Sunday afternoon.
It was a closely-fought encounter throughout and while both sides did carve out chances to win the game, a draw was a fair result on the overall balance of play.
The match began at a furious pace, with both sides pushing forward and cramming the midfield in the hope of forcing an early error. Hiroshi Kiyotake in particular was lively for the guests, eager to justify his place in the side after coming in for the injured Edgar Prib, who scored one and made the other as the 96ers defeated FC Schalke 04 last week.
Yet it was the hosts’ patient probing that created the first opening of the game when Ja-Cheol Koo wriggled his way down the left flank and crossed to the back post where Christoph Moritz was waiting. The midfielder headed the ball back across goal - leaving Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler wrong-footed - but his effort trickled just wide of the post.
With both teams cancelling each other out with their intense pressing and fierce tackling it was a while until the next goalscoring opportunity presented itself, but it fell to Mainz once again when it did. Shinji Okazaki did well to keep possession on the right and had the vision to spot the unmarked Julian Baumgartlinger arriving in the box, but he could not control his first-time volley and his shot flew wide, leaving the teams on level terms at the break.
Kiyotake almost broke the deadlock immediately at the start of the second period when his clever shimmy on the edge of the area allowed him room to shoot, but while his strike beat Karius, Moritz was able to clear off the line. The tempo of the game waned after that but it remained an evenly-balanced encounter, with neither side able to get the upper hand.
Joselu almost found a breakthrough in the closing stages when he latched on to Artur Sobiech’s defence-splitting pass from the right wing, but the Spaniard’s first-time effort with the outside of his boot spun wide of the goal. At the other end of the pitch Moritz almost stole victory for the hosts when allowed time to shoot from the edge of the area, but he snatched at his effort and it flew over.
Neither side will be too disappointed not to have won given the balanced nature of the game and the result means they both maintain their unbeaten starts to the Bundesliga season as they head into the international break.
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