Werkself coach Peter Bosz was forced to make three changes to the starting eleven from the 1-1 draw at Stuttgart ahead of the international break due to injuries: Patrik Schick suffered a muscle injury in that game and was replaced up front by Lucas Alario. Lars Bender returned at right-back in place of Santiago Arias, who suffered a serious injury playing for Colombia. Florian Wirtz, who picked up a stomach injury playing for the Germany U21s, made way for Nadiem Amiri in central midfield. The fourth change from the Stuttgart match: Leon Bailey made his first start of the season with Karim Bellarabi dropping down to the bench - to join Emrehan Gedikli. The 17-year-old striker, who normally plays for the Bayer 04 U19s, was in the first team squad for the first time.
The 250-strong crowd permitted at the Opel Arena in Mainz saw a committed start from the Werkself who had a chance early on: After keeper Robin Zentner parried the ball, Bailey went close with a fine shot from the edge of the box that just missed the Mainz goal (7’). Mainz did pose problems with their fast counter-attacks but the Werkself posed the greater threat: A volley by Daley Sinkgraven from a Kerem Demirbay cross was blocked (15’). The first threat on the goal guarded by Lukas Hradecky came on 25 minutes with Jonathan Burkardt going close with a cross to the far post.
The Werkself clearly remained in charge of proceedings and were rewarded from a set-piece: From a Bailey cross, Alario demonstrated his outstanding ability in the air as he headed at goal from a difficult position. Zentner got his fingertips to the ball but the goalline technology indicated to referee Bastian Dankert: The ball was behind the line and the Werkself were in front on the half-hour mark. Mainz looked more lively but Bayer 04 were well organised at the back and managed to thwart a lot of counter-attacks early on. The Black and Reds went close with shots from Sinkgraven (33’) and the very lively Bailey (41’). Without doubt: The Werkself deserved to take their lead into the half-time break.
Peter Bosz made the first change at half-time with the former Mainz player Julian Baumgartlinger coming on for Charles Aránguiz. After the restart, it did not take long for the Werkself to have their first decent chance on goal with Amiri having an excellent volley saved by Zentner (52’). However, Mainz played further up the pitch compared with the first half and the former Leverkusen player Levin Öztunali had a good chance but Sven Bender threw himself in front of the dangerous effort - a great save (54’). The match was now more open as the Werkself continued to press forward with Zentner saving an Alario header (56’) and a shot from Amiri (63’).
There were then a number of changes on both sides with Bayer 04 bringing on Exequiel Palacios and Karim Bellarabi. The match became more and more disjointed and the few spectators witnessed lots of tough challenges interspersed by less and less goalmouth action. The Werkself had a scare on 78 minutes: Edmond Tapsoba was shown a red card after a professional foul on substitute Karim Onisiwo. However, VAR intervened to reveal that Onisiwo was offside and the dismissal was withdrawn.
The Werkself now have the first European game of the new season on Thursday 22 October (18.55 CEST) against the French club Nice at the BayArena.
FSV Mainz 05: Zentner - St. Juste, Kilian, Niakhaté, Brosinski - Kunde (Fernandes 58’), Latza (Nebel 77’) - Öztunali (Onisiwo 69’), Boetius, Burkardt (Quaison 58’) - Mateta (Ji 77’)
Bayer 04: Hradecky – L. Bender, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven – Aránguiz (Baumgartlinger 46’) - Demirbay (Palacios 69’), Amiri – Bailey (Bellarabi 69’), Alario, Diaby
Goals: 0-1 Alario (30’)
Booked: Latza, Fernandes, Ji - L. Bender
Referee: Bastian Dankert (Rostock)
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more