Gerardo Seoane made three changes from the side that played in the 3-0 defeat against TSG Hoffenheim last week: In place of Adam Hlozek and Sardar Azmoun in attack, Mitchel Bakker started on the left flank, Charles Aránguiz was replaced by Exequiel Palacios in the starting eleven. Kerem Demirbay was the other player in midfield.
The match started with a high tempo and great intensity on both sides. The hosts had the first dangerous attack on six minutes: A cross from Karim Onisiwo found Angelo Fulgini but his close range effort was kept out with a brilliant reflex save by captain Lukas Hradecky. It was the turn of the Seoane team to pose the danger on 12 minutes: Moussa Diaby broke into the opposition penalty area, Stefan Bell intervened with the ball returning to Leverkusen. A low follow-up shot from Bakker with his weaker right foot was turned away for a corner by Robin Zentner. Mainz were now gradually gaining the upper hand.
Robert Andrich and Co. continued to look for a structured build-up – with success. A corner from Demirbay found Palacios on the edge of the penalty area. His low shot was heading towards to the far corner of the net but was finally turn into his own goal by Jonathan Burkardt to give the Werkself a 1-0 lead on 29 minutes.
That appeared to be the turning point: Ten minutes later, Diaby won the ball from Maxim Leitsch and launched a counter-attack with the Frenchman running through on Zentner but he saw Jeremie Frimpong on the right and fed him the ball for a tap-in at the near post to double the lead. The next goal followed quickly: Alexander Hack and Leitsch lost possession and Frimpong attacked down the right. A great solo run saw the number 30 round the Mainz keeper Zentner and he slotted the ball into the net from a tight angle to give the Werkself a 3-0 lead (39').
Seoane did not make any changes at half-time. The hosts made three substitutions introducing Niklas Tauer, Jae-Sung Lee and Delano Burgzorg. The latter was involved in a challenge in the penalty area on 59 minutes with the ball landing at the feet of teammate Aaron Martin whose well hit effort hit the bar. After a lively start to the second half the game appeared to settle down. Mainz continued to seek a way through the Leverkusen defence but the Werkself defended with courage and resolve. Mainz 05 refused to give up.
Following a second yellow card for Hincapie for a foul, the Seoane team were reduced to ten men on 77 minutes. The hosts continued to create chances as in two minutes later: Anton Stach fired a free kick towards goal from 18 yards out but Hradecky again made an excellent save. Three minutes later it was Onisiwo who broke through into the box but his effort went just past the far post.
In added time, Bakker was also shown a second yellow card for an elbow and was sent off. Nothing happened after that with the scoreline ending with a 3-0 win in the first victory of the season for the Werkself in the 2022/23 Bundesliga season.
Bayer 04 have a home match next weekend. The Seoane team entertain SC Freiburg at the BayArena on Saturday 3 September (kick-off: 15.30 CEST). Freiburg beat VfL Bochum 1-0 on Friday night and are currently third in the Bundesliga table.
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie – Frimpong (Kossounou 71’), Andrich, Palacios (Aránguiz 71’), Bakker – Demirbay (Amiri 81’) – Diaby (Fosu-Mensah 81’), Schick (Azmoun 83’)
Mainz 05: Zentner – Bell, Hack (Tauer 45’), Leitsch – Widmer, Kohr (Barreiro 66’), Martin (Caci 73’) – Stach, Fulgini (Lee 45’) – Onisiwo, Burkardt (Burgzorg 46’)
Goals: 0-1 Burkardt (29’ own goal), 0-2 Frimpong (39’), 0-3 Frimpong (41’)
Booked: Burgzorg – Hincapie, Andrich, Frimpong, Bakker
Sent off: Hincapie, Bakker
Referee: Christian Dingert (Burglichtenberg)
Attendance: 28,500 at the MEWA Arena
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