Anthony Ujah was the hero for Mainz on Sunday, as the Nigerian came off the bench to score the only goal in a 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart at the Opel Arena.
Mainz 1-0 Stuttgart
Goals: 1-0 Ujah (76')
Stuttgart were looking to bounce back from a hugely disappointing DFB Cup exit at the hands of Hansa Rostock last time out, and with an attack led by Mario Gomez and new signing Nicolas Gonzalez, they started brightly. Gonzalez stung the palms of Mainz goalkeeper Florian Müller after seven minutes and captain Christian Gentner shot wide after a fine flowing move. Mainz, who lost Jean-Philippe Gbamin to injury in the first half, threatened sporadically, with namesake Jean-Philippe Mateta clipping a shot just wide of the far post.
The action was just as competitive in the second half but chances fell to a premium, with Gomez going close and Mainz's Robin Quaison seeing an effort ruled out for offside. Quaison would have a part to play in the winning goal, however, outmuscling Holger Badstuber and squaring for the substitute Ujah, back in the Bundesliga after two seasons in China, to sidefoot home.
- Ujah came off the bench to score his first Bundesliga goal since May 2016.The Nigerian has also scored six times in seven appearances against VfB, more than against any other side. Furthermore, all three of his Bundesliga goals for Mainz have come against the Swabians.Mainz's starting XI had an average age of 24.1 years, the youngest side they have ever fielded in the top flight.The hosts played their first ever Bundesliga game in Stuttgart, losing 4-2 on 8 August 2004.Gomez scored his first ever Bundesliga goal against Mainz on 17 September 2005 having come on from the bench. The former Germany international was his club’s top scorer last season, despite only joining in January. Gomez scored eight goals in his 16 appearances for Stuttgart in 2017/18.This is the fourth time that the two teams have met on the opening day, and so far the home team has always prevailed (three wins for Mainz, one for Stuttgart).
Mainz: Müller – Brosinski, Bell (c), Niakhate, Aaron – De Blasis, Gbamin (Kunde 41'), Baku, Holtmann (Onisiwo 89') – Quaison, Mateta (Ujah 66')
Unused subs: Zentner, Bungert, Bussmann, Maxim
Absentees: Adler (knee), Öztunali (hamstring), Hack (foot), Berggreen (knee), Latza (hernia)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Stuttgart: Zieler – Maffeo, Pavard, Badstuber, Insua (Sosa 84') – Castro, Gonzalez (Didavi 59'), Ascacibar – Gentner (c), Gomez, Thommy (Akolo 81')
Unused subs: Grahl, Aogo, Baumgartl, Beck
Absentees: Meyer (knee)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Watch: Anthony Ujah credits Robin Quaison for his match-winner