Bo Svensson opted for an unchanged side from the draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach before the international break.
Steffen Baumgart made just one alteration following the 2:2 stalemate against 1. FC Union Berlin. Timo Hübers dropped to the bench as Mainz loanee Luca Kilian came into the starting line-up.
FC came out of the blocks quickest but a lapse in concentration at a corner almost handed Mainz the lead. Moussa Niakhaté’s dangerous header flew past the base of the post. However, after that, the first period belonged to Steffen Baumgart and his men. Ondrej Duda was denied by Robin Zentner before firing the rebound over, as Anthony Modeste was thwarted in another one-on-one situation. Luca Kilian could have opened the scoring against his still-current employers but his header from close range went the wrong side of the upright.
It seemed to be a case of when and not if FC would go ahead but a moment of speed gave Mainz the lead. Karim Onisiwo fed Jonathan Burkhardt, who was able to cut inside of Kilian and finish into the near post. Things got worse just before the break as well. Anthony Modeste was caught in the kidneys by Stefan Bell’s knee and the French forward was forced off, replaced by Sebastian Andersson.
As the teams entered the pitch for the second half, it took less than two minutes for FC to level the scores. Mark Uth’s free-kick from deep was tempting and Salih Özcan made the right run at the right time to head home his first Bundesliga goal. What followed was a period of back and forth between the two sides. For the effort and tempo, a cool and calm head was lacking to take advantage.
There was late pressure from the hosts, however, as they looked to snatch a winner at the death. Luca Kilian produced a stunning slide tackle to block Burkhardt’s effort when through on goal. Timo Horn then had to be alert to parry Adam Szalai’s late volley around the post. Despite the late flurry from Mainz, it is a game where Steffen Baumgart’s side enjoyed the better of play and chances.
FC’s next game sees them take on Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Rheinderby will take place next Saturday at the RheinEnergieSTADION with kick-off at 15:30 CET.
1. FSV Mainz 05 (3-3-2-2): Zentner – Bell, Hack, Niakhaté – Widmer, Kohr (Barreiro 34‘), Aaron – Lee (Stöger 60‘), Boetius (Stach 60‘) – Onisiwo (Szalai 77‘), Burkardt.
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): T. Horn – Schmitz, Kilian, Czichos, Hector – Ljubicic, Özcan – Kainz (Thielmann 81‘), Duda (Schaub 81‘), Uth (Skhiri 67‘) – Modeste (Andersson 45+3‘).
Goals: 1:0, Burkhardt 41’. 1:1, Özcan 47’.
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach).
Booked: Bell (42’), Duda (54’), Svensson (60’), McKenna (60’), Szalai (90+1’).
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