Darmstadt stop the rot with Mainz winDarmstadt put the brakes on a run of three consecutive losses with a 2-1 win over Mainz at their Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Böllenfalltor. Aytac Sulu and Sidney Sam scored to drown out Robin Quaison’s goal for the visitors.
Goals: 1-0 Sulu (5’), 2-0 Sam (pen, 12’), 2-1 Quaison (45 +3’)
Red cards: Vrancic (59’)
Wearing special shirts in honour of Darmstadt fan Johnny Heimes, who lost his battle with cancer in March, D98 made a start that would have done the him proud, with Sulu heading them into an early lead from a Mario Vrancic corner. Jerome Gondorf then earned a penalty that Sam stepped up to stroke home for 2-0. Mainz pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, though, when Robin Quaison turned home from close range after Daniel Heuer Fernandes had punched away Pablo De Blasis’ header.
Disappointment might have turned to desperation for Darmstadt just inside the hour when Vrancic was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Mainz coach Martin Schmidt smelt blood and sent on the attacking talent of Bojan and Yoshinori Muto, but they failed to find a way through and Mainz joined Darmstadt in ending the game with ten men when Stefan Bell picked up a second yellow at the death.
Man of the Match
Sulu as imperious at the back for Darmstadt, with a game-high 32 touches complementing his opening goal. It has been a tougher season for the 31-year-old without the likes of Sandro Wagner and Konstantin Rausch to call teammates, but he continues to shine despite the lack of defensive support around him.
Darmstadt look like they have turned a corner since appointing Frings in December. With a victory over Borussia Dortmund already in the books since the former Germany midfielder took charge, the Lilies looked confident throughout against Mainz. They remain rooted to the foot of the table, but there are shoots of promise at the Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.
- Sulu – the top-scoring defender in Europe’s five major leagues last season with seven – scored his first goal of the 2016/17 campaign.
- Quaison scored his first Mainz goal following his winter arrival from Italian Serie A side Palermo.
- Mainz midfielder Danny Latza made 73 appearances for Darmstadt in the third tier between 2011 and 2013.
Darmstadt: Heuer Fernandes – Sirigu (Steinhöfer 87’), Niemeyer, Sulu (c), Holland - Gondorf, Hamit Altintop - Sam, Vrancic, Heller (Platte 75’) – Schipplock (Fedestskiy 64’)
Coach: Torsten Frings
Mainz: Lössl – Donati (Bojan 77’), Bell (c), Ramalho, Bussmann – Frei (Gbamin 57’), Latza - Öztunali, Quaison, De Blasis – Cordoba (Muto 82’)
Coach: Martin Schmidt