Mainz 1-0 Gladbach

Posted on April 15, 2011

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Andre Schürrle’s superb winning goal on 87 minutes gave Mainz their first home win of the season over Gladbach at Stadion am Bruchweg.

20-year-old Schürrle, who will leave Mainz for Leverkusen in the summer, fired home his 13th Bundesliga goal of the season from 30-yards to give the hosts the three points against a resilient Gladbach side who had been reduced to 10-men in the second-half.

Thomas Tuchel lined up 4-2-3-1 with four changes from the side which lost to Hannover last weekend. In came Christian Wetklo in-goal, Elkin Soto, Marcel Risse and Christian Fuchs. Sami Allagui was supported in attack by Holtby, Schürrle and Risse.

Gladbach kept the same eleven which hammered FC Koln 5-1 at Borussia Park last Saturday with Marco Reus after his fourth career goal against Mainz.

Mainz 1-0 Gladbach – 90 Minutes

The hosts started the game the strongest of the two teams and they were looking to stake their claim for a Europa League position in the Bundesliga.

Highly-rated attacker André Schürrle tested the Gladbach keeper early on from inside the box and midfielder Eugen Polanski had a long-range effort from 30 yards which sailed a few yards wide of the post.

Gladbach slowly began to settle in to the game and Marco Reus had two efforts on goal in the space of eight minutes. His first went just past the left-hand post from inside the penalty box after a neat pass from Mike Hanke and Reus’ second effort from 12 yards out went sailing over the crossbar.

Lucien Favre’s Gladbach ended the half on the front-foot with Juan Arango having a shot saved from Christian Wetklo and Havard Nordtveit squandering a decent opportunity in front of goal.

As Gladbach continued to impose themselves on the game, they were hit with an early blow when Striker Mike Hanke was sent off for a second bookable offence on 52 minutes.

The game reached a frantic tempo with Mainz looking vulnerable to a counter-attack from 10-man Gladbach, and in particular, the direct and pacey Marco Reus.

Mainz did, however, look the more likely to score with Holtby and Schürrle causing all-sorts of problems for the Gladbach defence who were moving closer to their own goal under pressure.

Schürrle missed an excellent chance just after the hour mark when full-back Christian Fuchs drilled in a near-post cross and Schürrle diverted the cross wide from just a few yards out.

At the other end, Marco Reus had a strong penalty claim when he was tripped by Eugen Polanski inside the box but the referee, to Lucien Favre’s dismay, gave a goal-kick.

However, Mainz’s persistent attacking did pay off towards the end with Schürrle scoring a stunning opening goal for Mainz after collecting the ball from 30 yards out and blasting the ball into the right-hand corner of the net.

Mainz held on to cement their place in the Europa League positions and increase the gap with sixth-placed Nurnberg to five points.

Gladbach, on the other hand, will be rock-bottom of the Bundesliga for another week at least following the defeat to Mainz.

Mainz: Balance is Everything

Mainz have impressed in the Bundesliga this season and could be rewarded with a European position for next season if they continue to pick up points in the league.

Thomas Tuchel’s side has a wealth of attacking talent, in particular Andre Schürrle and Lewis Holtby, who have racked up 16 goals between them and have recieved deserved plaudits for their performances in the Bundesliga.

However, there is another dimension to Tuchel’s side and Mainz have a number of under-rated players that have been vital to their successes this season.

In midfield, Mainz have industry and work-rate in abundance with Eugen Polanski, Elkin Soto and Eugen Gopko, who complement the attacking front-three extremely well. Polanski and Soto were almost immaculate in possession and sat deep enough to allow Fuchs and Caligiuri to bomb forward from the full-back areas at every opportunity. Fuchs, in particular, was in a more advanced position on the left-hand side which allowed Schurrle and Holtby to inter-change in the centre of the pitch rather than out-wide.

Despite being substituted just 40 minutes after coming on, Gopko had a decent impact on the game and was surprisingly given a license to roam from the right-hand side of Mainz’s original 4-2-3-1. Young Gopko popped up across the pitch and delivered a number of decent crosses from wide-areas – even more surprising for a naturally central midfielder.

Gladbach: Still Alive

Tonight’s defeat keeps Lucien Favre’s Gladbach rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga with a four-point gap separating them from safety.

Favre will take a number of positives from this defeat to Mainz especially surviving for so long in the second-half with 10-men after Hanke was sent-off.

Even though Gladbach were penned in by the relentless pressure from Mainz, the visitors looked very dangerous on the counter-attack through Marco Reus and the excellent hold-up play from Idrissou. Reus worked himself in to some good positions and was denied a strong claim for a penalty when Polanski bundled him over in the box.

At the back, the towering figure of Dante was outstanding for Gladbach alongside Martin Stranzl and Nordtveit as they were forced in to a five at the back for the last half-hour.

Gladbach’s remaining four fixtures could not look tougher on paper with Borussia Dortmund travelling to Borussia Park next weekend followed by a trip to Champions League-chasing Hannover then a home match with SC Freiburg before concluding the season at the improved Hamburg.

However, with Dortmund slightly off-form and the other three sides beatable, Lucien Favre may just fancy his chances of sneaking, at least, six points from four matches in order to stay in the top-flight.

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Posted in: Matches