FSV Mainz 2-0 Leverkusen

Posted on August 7, 2011

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MAINZ swapped the Stadion am Bruchweg for their new Coface Arena and kicked off the era with an impressive 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Leverkusen were looking to challenge for the title this season but their ambitions were dealt an early blow with goals from Sami Allagui and an own goal from Omer Toprak securing a 2-0 victory for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Tuchel made three changes from the side which lost to Gaz Metan on penalties in the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round in midweek, with Heinz Muller replacing Christian Wetklo in goal, Marco Caliguri replacing Baumgartlinger, Stieber in for Ujah and Allagui for Bungert.

Despite losing Schurrle and Holtby, Tuchel was loyal to his 4-2-3-1 formation with Polanski and Soto in midfield alongside the three supporting attackers, Risse, Ivanschitz and Stieber. Sami Allagui was leading the attack as he did so well in the first half of last season.

All eyes were on Robin Dutt’s first team selection at Leverkusen and he handed Andre Schurrle his Leverkusen debut at the Coface Arena.

Omer Toprak made his debut for Bayer in central defence alongside Stefan Reinartz, with Kadlec and Schwaab the two usual full-backs. Dutt opted to leave Gonzalo Castro and Michael Ballack on the bench and start Simon Rolfes with Lars Bender in midfield.

Leverkusen had creativity in abundance with Sidnei Sam, Andre Schurrle and Renato Augusto supporting Swiss international striker Erin Derdiyok.

Mainz 2-0 Leverkusen: 90 minutes

Leverkusen started well on Robin Dutt’s first match as head coach and they were inches away from opening the scoring on seven minutes when Stefan Reinartz’s header was well parried by Muller who was the Mainz number one ahead of Wetklo this afternoon.

Mainz were clearly intent on breaking the duck of scoring a Bundesliga goal at the Coface Arena on the opening day and both Sami Allagui and right-back Zdenek Pospech had efforts at goal which did not trouble Leverkusen keeper Fabian Giefer.

Both sides looked dangerous from set-pieces due to the erractic defending on show and Daniel Schwaab’s glancing header from the near-post had to be cleared off the line on 21 minutes.

Just after the half hour mark, the Tunisian striker Allagui banged home the first league goal in the Coface Arena after a horrific blunder from Giefer who failed to make contact with Schwaab’s back pass and Allagui was on hand to put Mainz in front.

From then until half-time, Leverkusen were unable to create any opportunities with Soto and Polanski’s quick pressing on Bayer’s creative midfielders being a crucial factor in the lack of clear chances for the visitors.

Again, in the second half, set pieces looked the answer to the lack of chances for either side. Eren Derdiyok should have done better with his effort from the edge of the penalty area as he fired aimlessly over the crossbar for the second time in the match.

Sami Allagui was not far away from adding a second to his account for the season so far with a lovely curled effort from the left-hand corner of the penalty area which was inches away from finding the net.

Allagui scored 10 Bundesliga goals last season for Mainz and was enjoying his role in the attack with plenty of crosses and passes coming from the impressive Zoltan Stieber on his Bundesliga debut. Allagui’s touch let him down on 58 minutes when he tried to round Giefer to add a second goal but touched the ball out for a goal-kick.

Andreas Ivanschitz was next to ask questions of 21-year-old Fabian Giefer and his left-foot shot, which was heading for the top corner, was palmed clear by the Leverkusen goalkeeper.

Robin Dutt and Thomas Tuchel were making the most of the players on the bench with Mainz’s Zoltan Steiber coming off for Choupo-Moting and earlier, Rolfes being replaced by Jorgenson.

Giefer was making up for the earlier blunder with some very good saves in the second half and Sami Allagui forced another one from the 21-year-old on 72 minutes.

With Mainz pushing forward, Leverkusen found the space in behind the defence and Andre Schurrle raced through on goal before setting up Eren Derdiyok who rounded Muller but could not get enough pace on the finish to beat Polanski on the goal line.

The hosts secured the three points on 85 minutes thanks to an own goal from debutant Omer Toprak after a neat move from Sami Allagui and Marco Caliguri on the counter attack.

Andreas Ivanschitz should have added a third when he weaved his way through on goal but his left-foot finish ended up on the wrong side of the post in the last attack of the match.

Mainz: Tuchel and Heidel show tidy scouting with new additions

Most Bundesliga pundits had tipped Mainz to struggle this season having lost Lewis Holtby and Andre Schurrle during the summer, both had played an immense part in their fifth-placed finish last year.

The club spent close to £10m on new players during the summer and the sale of Schurrle for £8m certainly helped increase the budget compared with other Bundesliga sides.

However, the ambitious Mainz were dealt an unfortunate blow on Thursday night when they suffered an embarrassing penalty shootout exit to Gaz Metan in Romania after drawing 2-2 over two legs.

It will be incredibly difficult for Tuchel to raise the standards from last season with Mainz finishing ahead of Hamburg, Nurnberg, Stuttgart, Bremen, Schalke and Wolfsburg to seal a place in Europe.

But things are looking encouraging for Mainz with their new stadium finally completed and a number of smart signings during the close season.

In particular, the signing of Zoltan Stieber for £1.5m looks a very astute piece of business with the former Aston Villa youth players having an excellent debut against Leverkusen. Marcel Risse started this afternoon in the 2-0 victory and he joined from Leverkusen for £800k which is another good signing for the club.

Mainz also added the likes of Eric Choupo-Moting and Anthony Ujah which gives Mainz some pace and strength in attack and an alternative option to Sami Allagui.

Leverkusen: Early question marks over Bayer defence

Robin Dutt had a difficult job replacing Jupp Heynckes with Leverkusen aiming to better their second-place finish in the Bundesliga last season.

However, Dutt was let down by a number of individual errors in the Leverkusen backline which succumbed the visitors to the new Coface Arena to a 2-0 defeat this afternoon.

Leverkusen started with Fabian Giefer in goal; Michal Kadlec, Daniel Schwaab, Stefan Reinartz and Omer Toprak in the defence with Simon Rolfes and Lars Bender sitting just in front.

For the majority of the game, Bender and Rolfes were non-existent against the energetic midfielders Soto and Polanski of Mainz. The latter was replaced just after the hour mark as Dutt aimed to add some attacking flair to the losing team.

The first goal could have been avoided but 21-year-old Giefer who was starting ahead of US keeper David Yelldell made a meal of a backpass just before the half hour mark when he missed the ball completely and Sami Allagui pounced to make it 1-0.

With Rene Adler in goal, very rarely does that sort of thing happen. Experience is vital for a goalkeeper at a club like Leverkusen – just ask Louis Van Gaal last season with Thomas Kraft.

The second goal was an unfortunate own goal from Omer Toprak but the new signing was actually one of Leverkusen’s more reliable defenders with Sami Allagui causing all sorts of problems for Schwaab, Reinartz and Kadlec as well.

Leverkusen will need to shut the back door when they enter the Champions League this season or it could be a campaign to forget for Robin Dutt.

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Posted in: Matches