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1. FSV Mainz 05 vs 1. FC Union Berlin

Bundesliga, 20. Matchday

Mainz vs 1. FC Union

Bundesliga, 20. Matchday

Sat., 06. February 2021, 15:30 Uhr
OPEL ARENA
1 : 0
SR: Sascha Stegemann

Union suffer one-goal loss on the road

Match report

1. FC Union Berlin suffered a 0-1 defeat at Mainz with a penalty from Moussa Niakhate securing all three points for the relegation-threatened home side.

The 24-year-old converted from the spot after 22 minutes to put the hosts ahead and the goal would go without reply at the OPEL-Arena.

Mainz: Zentner; Da Costa, Bell, St. Juste, Niakhate, Mwene; Latza (Tauer 80), Kohr; Szalai (Glatzel 80), Onisiwo (Burkhardt 83), Barreiro

1. FC Union Berlin: Luthe; Trimmel, Schlotterbeck, Knoche, Friedrich, Gießelmann (Ryerson 60); Andrich, Gentner (Griesbeck 60); Teuchert (Musa 73), Ingvartsen (Endo 80), Awoniyi (Pohjanpalo 73)

Christopher Trimmel returned to the pack from suspension – the captain sat out the last 90 minutes in the Bundesliga at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach. After picking up a knock last week, Andreas Luthe took his place between the sticks and new signing Petar Musa was named in the matchday squad for the first time since joining from Slavia Prague on loan. Although Mainz occupied second last in the Bundesliga, the Carnival Club have improved under new coach Bo Svensson. Mainz picked up a victory at home to RB Leipzig and a point away to Borussia Dortmund, while looking more organised and competitive. Svensson's team put Union into uncomfortable situations early on without creating any clear chances. Union dealt with the numerous aerial duels and the battle to win the second balls in the centre of the pitch. After 20 minutes, referee Sascha Steegeman pointed to the penalty spot when Nico Schlotterbeck trampled on the foot of Karim Onisiwo. Mainz's Niakhate stepped up and established his position as the team's top scorer, firing past Luthe from 12 yards. Urs Fischer's team were given no time to settle on the ball and were immediately put under pressure. Steegeman gave out a couple of cautions for late challenges, including for Dominik Kohr and Leandro Barreiro Martins in Mainz's central midfield. The creative spark wasn't there for the visitors in forward positions – one of the few opportunities was on 33 minutes when Cedric Teuchert sent Taiwo Awoniyi through on goal but the assistant referee flagged for offside. The Nigerian striker sniffed an opportunity, however, about three minutes before the break as Mainz failed to clear their lines from a free-kick. The ball dropped to Awoniyi in a good position, but goalkeeper Robin Zentner charged out and blocked the angle to protect his clean sheet.

Union will have been readied for a stronger fight in the second half, but Fischer's side had to turn into defensive-mode within about 100 seconds of the whistle. Adam Szalai was free in the six-yard-box and the reactions from Andreas Luthe prevented Union from going two behind. On a bobbly pitch due to the adverse weather, Union's possession game struggled to take shape. It was a forceful diagonal from Nico Schlotterbeck which opened up the Mainz defence, the touch from Teuchert was strong but the striker's effort was saved by Zentner. Unfortunately, the stuffing was knocked out of the Köpenick club in the 55th minute when Schlotterbeck was awarded his second yellow card and sent down the tunnel. Union played on with 10 before Fischer tweaked his side from the bench – Julian Ryerson and Sebastian Griesbeck getting the nod in place of Niko Gießelmann and Christian Gentner. Zentner's highlight of the match was a fine save to parry a dangerous volley from Marcus Ingvartsen, the Dane using some quick thinking at the edge of the box. Union certainly needed some threat in the box and Fischer twisted with a debut for Musa and a sub appearance for Joel Pohjanpalo. The two combined in flashes with Pohjanpalo desperately unfortunate not to get more than a stud's contact on a loose ball with 10 minutes go. While Keita Endo was given the last 10 minutes to impress, Mainz's shored up defence stood the test. In fact, Andreas Luthe's actions prevented the game from being over as a contest before stoppage time. Mainz's new signing Robert Glatzel roamed clear of the Union defence in the final minutes but Luthe denied the former Cardiff City striker. At the other end, Pohjanpalo saw a shot blocked and Andrich fired wide as the Köpenick club ran out of ideas in Mainz.

1. FC Union Berlin will need to put a disappointing defeat to one side as the games come regularly in the Bundesliga. Urs Fischer's side host bottom-of-the-table Schalke next Saturday at 18:30 CET at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

Union Berlin travel to direct rivals Mainz

Match preview

1. FC Union Berlin take on Mainz on Saturday at 15:30 with the Köpenick club out to get another three points closer to the season objectives of survival in the Bundesliga.

Review

1. FC Union Berlin battled to a strong point at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. Marco Rose's team have defeated Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season, while setting up a Champions League clash with Manchester City this month. The Foals demonstrated that quality at the Alte Försterei but Union's organisation and determination proved a worthwhile match. Robin Knoche scored his first goal of the season on 31 minutes, heading Marcus Ingvartsen's free-kick past the Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Perhaps the hosts could have taken advantage of other half-chances in the game, but a moment of quality cut Union open early in the second half. Alassane Plea found a yard of space at the edge of the box and perfectly placed a shot past Andreas Luthe, who would later be substituted after a collision with Marcus Thuram. Loris Karius held the position between the sticks for the last 25 minutes, and there was positive news for the Union coach who was able to utilise Joel Pohjanpalo from the bench after his recovery from injury.

Opposition

Mainz are under new management following a difficult first half of the Bundesliga campaign. Former player Bo Svensson has come in from Red Bull and is looking to bridge a seven-point gap to safety in the Rückrunde. Mainz are four points better off than Schalke, but will need to get points quickly to get closer to Hertha, Bielefeld and 1. FC Köln. The Carnival Club have come out of a run of fixtures against some of the strongest teams in the Bundesliga – and have reasons to be positive. Eintracht Frankfurt won via two penalties for Andre Silva, while Mainz improved against Wolfsburg and last time out in Stuttgart. In Dortmund, Svensson's group fought to earn a point with Levin Öztunali scoring for the Reds. Everything came together for Mainz at the OPEL-Arena a fortnight ago when Leipzig were beaten by three goals to two. Moussa Niakhate equalised twice for Mainz, cancelling out goals from Tyler Adams and Marcel Halstenberg. As Mainz grew in confidence, Julian Nagelsmann's side were left stunned as Leandro Barreiro Martins shot home after 50 minutes to secure a vital three points for the home side.

Personnel

Urs Fischer confirmed the availability of Petar Musa, who put pen-to-paper this week on a loan transfer from Slavia Prague. The striker has permission from the relevant health authorities to travel for the game and train with the squad. Fischer's injury issues remain the same as last week with Anthony Ujah, Max Kruse, Sheraldo Becker and Grischa Prömel are missing. The latter duo have fatigue and aren't back at full fitness at the moment. Christopher Lenz is a serious doubt due to muscle issues after he missed the draw at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach a week ago.

Service

Saturday's game at the OPEL-Arena will take place behind closed doors.

AFTV Videos

Andreas Luthe

Andreas Luthe

was Player of the Day for the last time against Mainz

Andreas Luthe

was Player of the Day against Mainz

MatchStatistics

1. FSV Mainz 05 vs 1. FC Union Berlin

44 % Possession 56 %
66 % Pass Completion Rate 75 %
57 % Successful Tackle Rate 43 %
10 Shots on Goal 11
17 Crosses 16
1 Caught Offside 4
2 Yellow Cards 4
0 Yellow-Red Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away