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13.02.2021Bundesliga

Werkself give away two-goal lead in 2-2 draw with Mainz

Bayer 04 fail to follow up the win against Stuttgart with another three points at the BayArena: The Werkself had to settle for a 2-2 draw against FSV Mainz 05 after being 2-0 up in the closing stages. Lucas Alario (14') and Patrik Schick (84') scored for the Black and Reds, Robert Glatzel (89') and Kevin Stöger (90+2') levelled for Mainz.
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In the second home game in succession following the convincing 5-2 victory over VfB Stuttgart, coach Peter Bosz made two changes to his starting line-up. Wendell replaced Daley Sinkgraven at left-back and Lucas Alario, who scored the only goal of the game in the previous match against Mainz, was given the nod over Patrik Schick as the centre forward. Jonathan Tah made his 150th Bundesliga appearance for Bayer 04.

Pace and intelligence lead to opener

The Werkself took the initiative from the start. A through ball from Wendell to Alario caused the FSV keeper Robin Zentner to race out of his net to clear the ball into touch ahead of the Argentinian (1'). Straight after that, Tah picked up a yellow card for a foul on Adam Szalai (2'). As expected, Mainz sat back and their tightly packed defence made life difficult for the hosts. But Leverkusen showed how to beat a defence like that with pace and intelligence with the opening goal: Moussa Diaby nutmegged Danny da Costa, raced away down the left flank and crossed to the near post where Lucas Alario beat Zentner to the ball and slid it into the back of the net – 1-0 (14') goal number nine this season for Alario and also the eighth assist for Diaby.

Mainz were unbowed and they looked to get on the front foot. A cross from the right from da Costa was headed against the outside of the post by Karim Onisiwo with Lukas Hradecky clearly beaten (16'). A powerful shot from Bailey was hit straight at Zentner and he was able to make a comfortable save (22'). Shortly after that there was almost a carbon copy of the opening goal: Once again Diaby broke through on the left but this time Alario just failed to connect with his cross (24'). Mainz worked very hard in pressing the ball but the Werkself had further chances. A 20-yard effort from Kerem Demirbay was turned over the bar by Zentner on the half-hour mark. The Mainz keeper stood no chance a minute later but the rifled shot from Diaby flew just over the top corner of the target (31').

Bailey's header against the bar

Bayer 04 were very patient in controlling the game at this point. And the Werkself looked to double their lead. An excellent cross from Diaby was headed against the bar by Bailey, and Demirbay's header from the rebound that was heading for the far corner of the net was cleared off the line by Moussa Niakhaté (40'). The visitors were fortunate with the 1-0 scoreline at half-time.

Lomb makes Bundesliga debut

Niklas Lomb made his Bundesliga debut at the start of the second half: The goalkeeper, who was previously made two appearances in the Europa League, replaced Hradecky who had a problem with his heel that made it impossible for him to continue. Once again it was the Werkself who had the first chance of the half: A header from Alario flew wide of the target (47'), and after an impressive run with the ball Diaby failed to shoot at the right moment (51'). Lomb was on his toes for a shot from Onisiwo (53'). Shortly after that the Werkself keeper was lucky twice: Leandro Barreiro missed two chances in promising positions (55'/56'). Leverkusen lacked concentration in defence at this point.

Impressive phase from Mainz

Those two chances should have served as a warning shot and signal to sharpen minds. Florian Wirtz was brought down by Barreiro and had to receive treatment (59'). The Werkself found it tough going during this phase of the game and found it difficult to get on the front foot. Peter Bosz made a double change: Sven Bender came on for Tah, who was on a yellow card, and Schick replaced Alario (63'). Mainz were still very much in the game and Lomb had to pull off an excellent save to deny Onisiwo before Timothy Fosu-Mensah cleared the follow-up shot from Danny Latza (65'). Nobody in the Werkself could have complained about an equaliser.

Edmond Tapsoba made a last-ditch challenge to keep out Dominic Kohr (69'). A header from Niakhaté and the ensuing shot saw the ball in the back of the Leverkusen net but the Mainz central defender had handled the ball before. Peter Bosz used the rest of his substitutions bringing on Nadiem Amiri and Demarai Grayfor Demirbay and Bailey (72'). Grey was up to speed straight away and he put the ball in the net but his effort was ruled out as the ball hit Schick on the arm before he shot (74') – that strike was also correctly ruled out.

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Cool finish: Patrik Schick makes it 2-0.

Schick's excellent individual move

Mainz continued to pose problems for the Werkself and again and again broke through into the danger zone. Bayer 04 were now nowhere near to imposing their dominance of the first 45 minutes. But the Werkself can almost always rely on their individual class. Schick turned expertly in the box to evade Stefan Bell and he beat Zentner with a cool finish to make it 2-0 (84') with the sixth goal of the season for the Czech Republic international.

Mainz hit back

Game over? No way! Substitute Glatzel was one-on-one with Lomb from a Niakhaté pass and he made no mistake as he pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 on 89 minutes. There were five minutes of added time – and the equaliser for Mainz: A cross from the right was intercepted by Sven Bender but only to the feet of Stöger who slotted in the equaliser at 2-2 (90+2'). Gray had a chance immediately before the final whistle but the shot from the Englishman flew over the top of the bar. The match ended in frustrating disappointment for the Werkself.

Bayer 04 play again on Thursday 18 February in the Europa League with an away game at the Swiss champions Young Boys Bern with the kick off at 18.55 CET. The next match in the Bundesliga is away to FC Augsburg on matchday 22 on Sunday 21 February at 13.30 CET.

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Hradecky (Lomb 46’) – Fosu-Mensah, Tah (Sven Bender 63’), Tapsoba, Wendell – Wirtz, Aránguiz, Demirbay (Amiri 72’) – Bailey (Gray 72’), Alario (Schick 63’), Diaby

Mainz 05: Zentner – St. Juste, Bell, Niakhaté – da Costa, Barreiro (Stöger 83’), Kohr, Mwene – Latza (Boetius 74’) – Szalai (Burkardt 83’), Onisiwo (Glatzel 78’)

Goals: 1-0 Alario (14’), 2-0 Schick (84’), 2-1 Glatzel (89’), 2-2 Stöger (90+2’)

Referee: Guido Winkmann (Kerken)

Booked: Tah, Wendell, Tapsoba, Schick, Fosu-Mensah – Stöger

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No chance with late equaliser from Mainz: Keeper Niklas Lomb.

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