Neither side managed to break the deadlock as scoring chances proved hard to come by for both Svensson and Fischer's respective charges.
|Bo Svensson.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Wolfgang Jannach|
There was an intense opening to proceedings with no real clear-cut opportunities but plenty of meaty challenges and physicality on show, as Mainz striker Onisiwo found himself in referee Schlager’s notebook inside 5 minutes. Sheraldo Becker had an early glimpse of goal on 10 minutes when Ronnow picked him out with some top-notch distribution although Mainz’s Zentner had no problems dealing with the powerful shot. Ronnow himself was drawn into the action moments later as Jae Sung Lee’s cross-come-shot almost caught the Dane off his line who just managed to divert the ball out for a corner.
With the temperatures soaring to 30 degrees in the Germany’s aptly named carnival city, water breaks were enforced to aid player welfare as both managers strategized while their players got drinks onboard. A deep ball to the back post before the half hour mark almost brought some reward for the visitors only for Gießelmann’s looping header to narrowly sail wide of the far upright. No changes to the scoreboard at the interval – Urs Fischer and Bo Svensson’s tactical game plans appeared to perfectly nullify one another in a half shy on goalscoring chances.
Similarly, to the opening minutes of the first half, tackles flew in the opening sequence of the second 45 minutes. Gießelmann, by far and away the liveliest player on the pitch at this stage, took on another shot on 50 minutes which beat Zentner but also beat the goal, as the ball rippled off the netting on its way over. Fellow wing-back Ryerson drove forward and done similarly keeping the Mainz shot stopper on his toes.
Widmer and Stach almost combined nicely just before the 60th minute although Union’s densely packed 18-yard box meant the duo couldn’t force Ronnow into making a save. Fischer was first to use his bench with 30 minutes to play – Hungarian midfielder Schafer replaced Haberer. Mainz made a double change of their own soon after Fulgini and Barreiro entering the fray for Stach and Lee.
Ten minutes from the full-time whistle, Mainz youngster Marlon Mustapha went on a mazy run down the left wing, weaving his was past Robin Knoche, and seemed destined to score yet he could only poke the ball across goal and wide. Bo Svensson was visibly impressed by the attempt as he tried to spurn on the home crowd for the final minutes. The sides couldn’t be separated in the end. A 0-0 draw in what was a close fought tactical battle in which neither side gave an inch of space in their respective defensive thirds – the expected goals statistic proving that with Mainz holding 0.6xG to Union’s 0.4xG.