Bo Svensson masterminded Mainz 05 to an ugly yet brilliant 1-0 victory over title challengers RB Leipzig, who kickoff their stint under newly-appointed manager Jesse Marsch. While this win will give a lot for Svensson to build on, Marsch will have a lot of questions as the season progresses, and ones he will want to find solutions to as soon as possible.
Mainz began the game with great energy and enthusiasm as Jae-Sung Lee hit the post during the opening minutes of the first half. A goal would eventually for Mainz after Mukiele failed to clear the ball inside his own penalty area, which Mainz centre-back Moussa Diakhate poked into the back of the net without any problems. Leipzig did grow in stature as the first half wore on, neutralising the threat posed by Mainz wing-backs and forwards.
The second half, however, saw Leipzig put wave after wave of attack. The last half of the second half was the most testing period for Mainz as they were put under the cosh, with Andre Silva, Nordi Mukiele, and Willi Orban all coming close to getting the equaliser. However, the Mainz 05 players showed nerves of steel and an unprecedented desire to hold on to a clean sheet, and hold on they did to begin the season with 3 points in their kitty.
Find the player ratings from the match below:
Robin Zentner (GK) (8/10): The German made a few brilliant saves to help Mainz hold on to their one-goal lead. The most notable save was a point-blank save from an Andre Silva shot.
Moussa Niakhate (8.5/10): The match-winning goal game from the Mainz centre-back, who cleverly took advantage of some scrappy defending in the Leipzig area. He was supreme in the second half, finishing the game with 3 interceptions and 3 clearances.
Alexander Hack (8.5/10): Hack put in a heck of a performance today! He transformed into a defensive supernova, a wall that Leipzig simply couldn’t get past. He made an important sliding block in the 2nd half to prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity. Stats: 4 aerials won, 1 tackle, 4 interceptions, 8 clearances, 1 block.
Stefan Bell (8/10): Bell formed an impenetrable back-three with Niakhate and Hack and showed immense character and determination, especially in the last 20 minutes, to keep RB Leipzig at bay.
Silvan Widmer (6.5/10): He registered one key pass and had 4 clearances but didn’t do much apart from that.
Leandro Barreiro Martins (7.5/10): The 21-year was brilliant defensively as he made 5 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 1 clearance. A textbook defensive midfielder performance from the youngster.
Niklas Tauer (6.5/10): The Mainz academy graduate made an incredible sliding tackle on Christopher Nkunku in the 33rd minute to break the play and prevent Leipzig from creating danger. He finished the game with 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 clearance.
Aaron Martin (7/10): Martin was one of the most dangerous players in the first half as Mainz began the game with great energy. He finished the game with 2 key passes, 1 dribble, and the highest pass completion rate (82.6%) on the team.
Paul Nebel (7/10): The 18-year old heavily impressed as he took 3 shots (1 shot on target) and registered 2 key passes.
Jonathan Burkardt (6.5/10): The youngster was full of enthusiasm as he completed a game-high 3 dribbles and 1 key pass.
Jae-Sung Lee (7/10): His ridiculous header hit the post in the opening exchanges of the game as he was a threat for the Leipzig defenders.
Stephan Furstner (NA)
Romario Rosch (NA)
Luca Kilian (NA)
Peter Gulacsi (GK) (5.5/10): He couldn’t produce anything worth noting.
Nordi Mukiele (5/10): It was Mukiele’s mistake that cost Leipzig the goal but he gradually improved as the game progressed.
Willi Orban (6.5/10): He had a good game as he had the second-most touches of any RB Leipzig player (109). He was good defensively (2 tackles, 3 interceptions) and completed 90 passes.
Mohamed Simakan (7/10): He led the defence formidably if the goal they conceded isn’t accounted for. He had one shot on target and registered the highest touches (120) as well the most passes completed (91) on the pitch.
Angelino (7/10): Angelino’s quality was on show yet again as he was a key component in attack from left-back, completing the game with 2 key passes, 1 dribble, 1 shot on target, and 4 crosses.
Kevin Kampl (5.5/10): Kampl registered 2 tackles and a 91.8% passing rate but wasn’t very impactful.
Tyler Adams (6/10): The young American made 2 interceptions and won 3 aerial duels but couldn’t help Leipzig boss the midfield.
Amadou Haidara (6/10): Haidara showed his quality only in flashes, but couldn’t really create danger as the right-sided forward.
Emil Forsberg (6/10): Forsberg will have hoped to have put on a better performance for a player of his quality. He had two shots but failed to shoot the ball on target and registered one key pass.
Christopher Nkunku (6.5/10): He was a big threat on the left flank all night long. None of his two shots were on target but he did complete 3 key passes and 1 dribble.
Andre Silva (5.5/10): The Portuguese was a major disappointment on his RB Leipzig debut as he couldn’t get as involved as he would’ve liked.
Marcel Sabitzer (5.5/10): The Austrian completed the most long balls of any Leipzig player even though he came off the bench. He tried to make things happen but it just couldn’t be.
Dominik Szoboszlai (5.5/10): It was the player’s debut but he would have hoped for a better result. He simply couldn’t have any impact although he did make a key pass.
Hee-Chan Hwang (5.5/10): The player completed two dribbles but nothing else apart from that in his 27-minute appearance off the bench.
Brian Brobbey (NA)