German Sport

Bundesliga, 18th matchday: No winner in the water battle between Mainz and Union

As of: February 8, 2024 12:00 a.m

1. FSV Mainz 05 and 1. FC Union Berlin had a competitive water fight in the catch-up game on matchday 18. The 1:1 (0:0) draw doesn’t help either team.

Jonathan Burkardt put the hosts in front (45th+8), and in the long stoppage time of the first half, Robin Gosens saved the “Iron” a point (45th+13).

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rain, puddles, lying down balls

There was no answer to the question of whether the two teams saw each other as the biggest challenge of the evening or the extreme playing conditions due to the constant rain. In many places there was water on the lawn, the balls suddenly stopped lying there, and the players often slipped.

However, often with active help from their opponents: Both teams chose the “attack” tactic: numerous fouls interrupted the flow of the game and made the team of referees around Martin Petersen sweat a lot. In particular, a kick from Robin Knoche to Ludovic Ajorque’s head during a defensive action meant that the Mainz attacker had to take a longer break for treatment. Meanwhile, the referees discussed whether it could have been a penalty-worthy foul.

Jan Ebling, Sportschau, February 7th, 2024 8:53 p.m

Bone and Ajorque’s nasal bone

After Knoche first hit the ball and then Ajorque’s nose during the action, the referees decided “no foul” – which remains quite debatable given the severity of the hit. And the fans later caused several longer interruptions when they only threw individual tennis balls onto the field in protest against the intended investor entry into the Bundesliga, but over a longer period of time. Which led to a total of 14 minutes of added time in the first half of the game.

Jan Ebling, Sportschau, February 7th, 2024 8:56 p.m

First half: late goals

When Petersen blew the whistle at halftime, the score was 1-1. Both the Mainz coach Jan Siewert and his Union colleague Nenad Bjelica, who was banished to the stands, had set their team up offensively. And with success: Burkardt (Mainz) and Hollerbach (Berlin) missed shortly after the start of the game, Kevin Volland hit the post with a shot from the outside of the foot (7th). Three minutes later, Frederik Rønnow made a strong save from Sepp van den Berg and Leandro Barreiro. Volland was unlucky with another hit on the post (39th) – to name just a few chances – the fans experienced an exciting and hard-fought game in the constant rain in Mainz.

Jan Ebling, Sportschau, February 7th, 2024 9:28 p.m

In just the eighth minute of stoppage time, Burkardt got the ball behind a dense crowd of players after an Amiri corner and headed an unstoppable shot to give Mainz the lead. But the joy didn’t last long, because Gosens artistically took a long cross from Janik Haberer at the level of the second post and at a maximum distance of two meters from the goal and scored through a mini gap between Robin Zentner and the post for the deserved equalizer.

Jan Ebling, Sportschau, February 7th, 2024 9:12 p.m

Ajorque with swallow and luck

Ajorque, who played with some anger after his injury, was extremely lucky when he wanted to take a penalty after the break: the referee had already been given a yellow card and had the yellow and red cards in his hand when he ruled for offside when his colleagues pointed him out – and that Mainz attacker was saved from his second warning. If his action had been assessed as unsportsmanlike, Ajorque could have been sent off the pitch – Petersen took mercy before justice.

In the second half of the game, the intensity of the game decreased – the wet and now deep ground sapped the teams’ strength. The result was significantly fewer shots and, above all, no further goals. Yorbe Vertessen could most likely have scored the lucky punch for Union on a counterattack, but his finish didn’t pose a problem for Zentner.

“Of course I’m very disappointed, we had enough chances”said the Mainz keeper to the sports show after the game, “For us, that’s not enough in the current situation.” “We shouldn’t have lost”said Berlin’s Kevin Volland, “It was difficult, but there was still a lot of passion on the pitch and everything thrown into it, that’s why we took the point in the end.”

Union now against Wolfsburg, Mainz at VfB

Winning points is of little use to both teams: Mainz remains second to last, six points behind the first non-relegation spot, which Union Berlin currently occupies.

On the 21st matchday, Union Berlin awaits VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday (February 10, 2024/3:30 p.m.), Mainz has to play VfB Stuttgart a day later (3:30 p.m.).

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