November 28th 2015. It was the last time the duo of Yoshinori Muto or Yunus Malli have scored for 7th place Mainz 05, which one would think would be a problem, seeing that they had combined for 15 of the teams 20 goals up to that point. Since then, Mainz have won 4 games and taken 13 points from 7 matches, scoring 7 goals while conceding 5. Five of those goals came courtesy of wingers Jairo Samperio and Christian Clemens (2 from the Spaniard and 1 from the German was enough to see off HSV in early December). The other two: Julian Baumgartlinger and Gaetan Bussmann both scored their first career Bundesliga goals this Friday night to defeat Schalke 04 2-1 in a wild game at the Coface Arena.
Fourth place Schalke were looking to put the pressure on Hertha and announce their candidacy for third place after a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg. The loss of Yoshinori Muto to a serious knee injury and the recent poor form of Yunus Malli (perhaps disappointed by the collapse of his winter break move to Borussia Dortmund) were all great omens for the visitors from Gelsenkirchen.
After a furious first 15 minutes, FSV took the lead from a corner that was poorly cleared and eventually slotted home by left back Gaetan Bussmann. Mainz were perhaps still in the dressing room as Younes Belhanda equalized in the first minute of the second half.
In the 78th minute – Julian Baumgartlinger, the heart and soul of this Mainz side, and the Bundesliga’s leading tackler, got on the end of a Malli cross to do what he had never in 112 matches done:
Man of the Match: Baumgartlinger and partner in crime Danny Latza once again covered 12.8 kms each, but the Austrian captain gets this award as his first ever Bundesliga goal was the cherry on the top of an otherwise typically robust performance.
Key stat: – 75 shots. With Mainz losing the shots battle 11 to 14 tonight, they have now allowed 75 more shots than they have taken as per http://footballintheclouds.blogspot.com/p/bundesliga-advanced-stats.html
Only Hannover, Hoffenheim and Darmstadt have been worse. Keep in mind, that Mainz are now even with Schalke on 33 points, and are only 5th due to fewer goals scored.
Talking points: Mainz
- For die Nullfünfer, the tough tackling midfield of Latza (made 75 runs, 14 more than any other player) and Baumgartlinger was able to take control of the game after the first quarter of an hour and frustrate the precocious Schalke quartet of Geis, Goretzka, Meyer and Leroy Sané.
- The transfer policy of Mainz has been nothing sort of genius. This year they got Leon Balogun and Danny Latza for free, brought in Jairo and Muto for a combined 5 million, plus Gaetan Bussmann for 1. Making a profit of 10 million Euros on current Leicester striker Shinji Okazaki or selling Johannes Geis to Schalke 04 for 12 million, or somehow conning the Royal Blues into paying 8 million for the artist formerly known as Ádám Szalai
- Martin Schmidt, the former mechanic, has assembled a “car” that is not the fastest, not the toughest, but one of the most effective, in Mainz. His defense, anchored by Leon Balogun’s 11 clearances tonight, is 2nd best in conversion rates against at 8% (only Bayern’s 7% is better) and his goalkeeper Loris Karius’s 77% is third in the league. His greatest coup has been navigating FSV through this dry spell for Muto and Malli, and with the emergence of Samperio, Clemens, the Latza-Baumgartlinger duo, or the aforementioned Bussmann, the 48-year-old has anointed himself as a worthy successor to Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, becoming a viable coach of the year candidate.
Talking points: Schalke
- Leroy Sané lost the ball 9 times and was often too selfish and wasteful on counterattacks. He may or may not be one of the biggest talents in Germany and worth 60 million, but on this day he made too many wrong decisions. Mainz’s entire roster is worth 58 million, according to Transfermarkt, by the way…..
- Schalke still need a striker, as Klaas Jan Huntelaar has been showing signs of having lost a step. This would have been a perfect game for the Hunter to take over in the 2nd half, but there are now some serious doubts for this Königsblau legend as he has only scored 6 times this year. 34 touches in such a key game is just not enough from the Dutchman. Younes Belhanda scored a nice goal, but was anonymous and Franco di Santo is well, still the Schalke-version of Franco di Santo.
- Andre Breitenreiter still remains a mystery. His team was set up perfectly to make a run at the top 3, but they wasted a golden chance at Mainz this evening.