An impressive comeback from two goals down saw FSV Mainz 05 grab a point to deny Borussia Monchengladbach in an action packed encounter at the Coface Arena
Mainz produced a wonderful display of spirit and imagination in overcoming a two goal deficit and putting a real dent in the Champions League aspirations of Borussia Monchengladbach in this highly entertaining encounter at the Coface Arena.
Trailing to two strikes from Borussia’s Brazilian hit man Raffeal the hosts refused to go down without a fight and were rightfully rewarded for their efforts as man of the match Johannes Geis and Shinji Okazaki found the back of the net in the final twenty minutes.
Following an opening period best described as a battle of attrition with neither side capable of unlocking the opposition Pablo De Blasis fired over the Borussia crossbar in the 18th minute after some neat trickery from Okazaki on the left wing set up his Argentine team mate.
Six minutes later and Geis unleashed a vicious dipping effort from 25 yards out though in the end it posed no real threat for the visitors with Yann Sommer making a comfortable save.
And against the run of play it was the men from Monchengladbach who were to make to make the breakthrough as with 26 minutes showing Raffeal put them in front with his fourth strike of the campaign following a well worked move with the ball zipped from one side of the field to the next before Ibrahima Traore launched a dangerous ball into the box from the left which was gleefully headed home from his unmarked team mate.
Almost straight from the kick off De Blasis came close at the other end as he fired in a right footed effort which bent just around Sommer’s left hand post.
Three minutes later the men in red were unfortunate not to level the proceedings as Geis launched a free-kick into the box from the right which was headed against the bar from Ozaki.
However the Foals were able to hold onto their lead until the interval and with the second meanest defence in the Bundesliga with only 18 goals conceded this term recently appointed Mainz manager Martin Schmidt must have realized the task facing his side in the second period would be a tough one indeed.
Roared on by their effervescent support in a packed out Coface Arena the home team began the remaining 45 minutes with more bite and pace to their play, forcing their game on Borussia though failing to locate any gaps in the disciplined defence of the away outfit.
Introduced at half –time on loan Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jonas Hoffman was integral to the increasing domination of Mainz and he tested Sommer with a right foot shot which the visitors shot stopper had to be alert to get his hands to.
But Monchengladbach are not pushing for a Champions League spot for nothing, strong at the back and clinical in attack Lucien Favre’s side double their lead in the 66th minute through a second strike from the deadly Raffeal who slotted home following a cheeky dummy from German internationalist Max Kruse.
But 5 minutes later and this contest was back on as Mainz dead ball specialist Geis stroke a powerful free-kick into the bottom right of Borussia net injecting real hope and belief back into the hearts of the home faithful.
Almost immediately Kruse had the chance though to increase the visitors lead though he was denied when his left foot shot which smashed off the post
And with 13 minutes remaining the Mainz comeback was complete after Okazaki glanced home sending the home support into raptures.
The tiny Japanese livewire was unlucky not to put the icing on his and his team’s day when with only 3 minutes remaining he met a Geis cross only to be denied by Sommer but a point a piece was probably a fair outcome in this terrific advert for the Bundesliga.