Germany: Bundesliga
1 - 1
(0 - 1)
Mainz 05
S. Widmer (76)
F. Neuhaus (38)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Table climbers Mainz and Gladbach share points after intense duel

Two streaking teams could not be separated on Friday night in the Pfalz. Bo Svensson's Mainz and Adi Hütter's Gladbach drew 1-1 in the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's round 11 curtain raiser. 

There may be some renewed injury woes for the Westphalian visitors after both Breel Embolo and Nico Elvedi had to exit the match early.
Though both clubs involved certainly would have hoped for a win, both team's involved in the Bundesliga's round 11 Friday night fixture at least kept up un beaten streaks. The hosting FSV remain unbeaten in four, visiting Gladbach in three after a 1-1 draw.

Mainz trainer Bo Svensson stuck with his usual 3-3-2-2 tactical set-up. The only personnel change saw captain Moussa Niakhaté return to the starting XI as part of the back-three. The formerly deputized David Nemeth returned to the bench. Adi Hütter also made only one personnel change from last. Luca Netz replaced Lars Stindl and the team lined up in a wide 3-4-3. Midfield metronome Denis Zakaria was able to start despite a GI infection earlier in the week.

Both sides created chances in a very entertaining opening quarter of an hour. Germany U21 captain Jonathan Burkardt furnished perhaps the best one at the 15-minute-mark. The Mainz striker blew past Nico Elvedi and serviced striking partner Karim Onisiwo excellently. Zakaria was only able to just clear for a corner. The home side rode the momentum for a while, combining forward splendidly until a series of injury-related interruptions broke the flow some ten minutes later.

Trainer Hütter actually had to make two injury-related substitutions before the half hour mark. Elvedi and and Breel Embolo were unable to continue. Florian Neuhaus and Marcus Thuram came on for early relief. This ended up working to the advantage of the NRW guests. Neither team could locate much of rhythm after the interruptions. Thuram picked a ball off Niakhaté in the 38th, eventually setting up his fellow substitute Neuhaus (via Ramy Bensebaini) for the opening goal.

Mainz keeper Robin Zentner did not particularly good on the play. The rattled hosts couldn't muster up much in the way of a response for the duration of the first half, which featured over four minutes of injury time. The Rheinhessen came out much more determined after the restart, forcing a pair of nice saves out of BMG keeper Yann Sommer. Svensson's side still kept the pressure on and had several near misses over the next half hour.

At long last, Silvan Widmer was able to grab the deserved equalizer in the 76th. The Swiss wingback had seen some fine work go to waste earlier, but was finally in the right place at the right time when an Anton Stach cross deflected off Manu Kouadio Koné directly onto feet. Sommer had no chance. A flood of substitutes from both trainers in the final minutes meant that only more hopeful attempts at a winning goal came from both sides.

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