Two narrow defeats in Hoffenheim double header
Mateta and Öztunali score in either friendly, but TSG twice come out on top
1. FSV Mainz 05 suffered two 2-1 friendly defeats to TSG Hoffenheim in Saturday’s pre-season double header against the fellow Bundesliga side. Jean-Philippe Mateta’s opener in the first game went unrewarded following two set-piece goals, before the second game ended with a late Hoffenheim winner after Levin Öztunali had cancelled out the hosts’ early lead.
The friendly began with a double chance for the Zerofivers. Oliver Baumann was called into action to save Karim Onisiwo’s header from a corner after just seven minutes, before Kunde Malong fired narrowly wide of the target moments later. They remained the only notable moments of the first 45. The start of the second half marked the return of chances though, albeit for Hoffenheim. Fortunately for Mainz, Munas Dabbur couldn’t keep his header down from Christoph Baumgartner’s cross. Clinical finishing was on display at the other end soon after, however, with Jean-Philippe Mateta given a simple tap-in from Robin Quaison’s ball across the face of goal to put the Zerofivers in front after 51 minutes.
The lead didn’t last very long though, with Flo Müller’s save from Robert Skov’s free-kick falling to the feet of Stefan Posch, who reacted quickly to poke home an equaliser in the 55th minute. TSG had soon turned the game around completely, with a Skov free-kick once again doing the damage. This time Müller was unable to reach his curling shot into the top corner. U23s player Oliver Wähling added a spark to the Mainz attack as they searched for an equaliser in the closing stages, but Onisiwo and Mateta both missed headers to spell a 2-1 defeat in the first friendly.
Mainz continued to enjoy the better chances in the second half and really ought to have taken the lead around the hour mark. Merveille Papela put Öztunali in behind, but his lay-off to a supporting Issah was overhit, giving Philipp time to race back and save the eventual shot. Moments later, Mainz were counting their blessings not to find themselves trailing again, when Ilay Elmkies’ header zipped inches over the crossbar. Back at the other end, Öztunali set up Issah, but again there was no way past the goalkeeper, this time in the form of substitute Nahuel Noll. In the closing stages, it was Mainz’s man between the sticks who was made to work though. Like in the first game, third-choice goalkeeper Finn Dahmen was brought on and pulled off two brilliant saves to keep out Ilhas Bebou and then Ishak Belfodil. He was helpless in the 86th minute, however, as Bebhou buried a late winner for TSG.
Mainz 05: Zentner (68’ Dahmen) - Mwene (78’ Akoto), Bell (56’ Lavalée), Hack, Aarón - Tauer (56’ Papela), Barreiro, Nebel (68‘ Wähling), Issah, Öztunali - Szalai