Carnival in May as Mainz exit relegation zone!

By Peter Weis@PeterVicey
FSV Mainz were able to extend their league unbeaten run to eight consecutive matches with a massive home win over Borussia Dortmund in the Saturday evening Top-Spiel. 

The 16th point taken from the eight fixtures helps Bo Henriksen’s Rheinhessen exit the relegation zone with one match-day remaining. Mainz are now in 15th-place on 32 points.

Bo Henriksen’s FSV Mainz 05 – following 1. FC Union Berlin’s defeat earlier today – have leapfrogged Berlin’s Köpenick side and exited the relegation zone with a 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at the MEWA Arena on Saturday evening. The Rheinhessen are now in the safety zone and can reasonably hope to secure another season of Bundesliga football next year without having to contest the relegation playoffs. Edin Terzic’s BVB were undone by early errors in a match that was decided relatively quickly. 

FSV trainer Henriksen was able to welcome two key players back from suspension. Both Nadiem Amiri and Brajan Gruda were immediately inserted back into the XI. Edimilson Fernandes and Ludovic Ajorque made way as Henriksen’s 3-4-1-2 from last week returned to the head-coach’s preferred 3-4-3. Terzic – just as he did last week – engaged in heavy rotations. Only defender Nico Schlotterbeck remained from the UCL starting lineup. Alexander Meyer took over for keeper Gregor Kobel while nine new outfielders took to the pitch. Schlotterbeck for Kjell Wätjen was the only change from last week’s league XI.

The Rheinhessen hosts stormed out of the gate and very nearly scored the opening goal inside of seven minutes. Amiri was somewhat unlucky to see a very well taken free-kick smash off the crossbar. Less than a minute later, FSV skipper Silvan Widmer headed an effort off the post. The Nullfünfter would nevertheless not be deterred and scored a goal that would count in the 12th. The hosts pounced on a mistake from BVB fullback Mateu Morey. Leandro Barreiro polished off an outstanding Widmer cutback for the 1-0. 

Another Dortmund mistake from a cold starter enabled Mainz to double the advantage in the 19th. Meyer sent a goal-kick directly onto the boot of a lurking Jae-Sung Lee. The South Korean international fired home a not entirely easy finish in underneath the crossbar into the net for the 2-0. The shellshocked Westphalian guests then conceded again off a throw-in four minutes after that. Lee completed a scorer’s brace amid unfocused BVB marking on the 3-0 in the 24th. 

The party was then on in one of Germany’s great carnival cities. Dortmund appeared increasingly resigned to their fate and Mainz took their collective foot off the gas pedal. Terzic introduced Julian Brandt, Jadon Sancho, and Ian Maatsen at the half. Die Schwarzgelben played more structured football in the second 45, yet were unable to pull back a consolation goal.

The win puts Mainz in 15th place ahead of the final 2023/24 Bundesliga match-day. Mainz, Union, Köln, and Bochum remain unsafe as the season heads towards its conclusion. Bochum can remove themselves from the relegation discussion with a draw against Leverkusen tomorrow. 

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