SHow does a Bundesliga game look like where nothing is at stake anymore? Do the players of two teams that have finished with the season fight so intensely? Rather not. FSV Mainz 05 and Eintracht Frankfurt fought hard until the end on Saturday afternoon in the Europakreisel arena, neither side was satisfied with the result, which has lasted since the 50th minute – and which, despite all efforts, has not changed should: The Rhein-Main rivals drew 2:2, a result that the 05ers had reason to struggle with due to the larger number of goal chances. However, they climbed up a place in the table and pushed TSG Hoffenheim out of eighth place.
In view of this, Martin Schmidt did not want to be dissatisfied afterwards. “For us, eighth place almost feels like a championship,” said the 05 sports director. “We would have liked to have achieved our eleventh home win today. But it was a good game and we came back from behind. So it was a successful conclusion.”
Eintracht played its part in that. Coach Oliver Glasner approached the Rhein-Main duel as a dress rehearsal for the biggest game in the club’s history for 42 years. He called up the eleven set to start Wednesday’s Europa League final against Glasgow Rangers. At first, however, it gave the impression that it wanted to encourage the old adage that a failed dress rehearsal leads to an even more successful emergency. “It’s about being in rhythm,” explained sporting director Markus Krösche, explaining why Glasner didn’t spare any of his core staff. It took some time before rhythm could be recognized.
“An entertaining game”
For 25 minutes, anyone who wanted to see Frankfurt players had to look in their half – during this time the guests hardly ever crossed the halfway line, and if they did, it didn’t last long. Mainz dominated the action, they were more aggressive in the duels, which they mostly won in midfield, and they always conquered the second ball and came up with actions in the penalty area.
In the eighth minute, Kevin Trapp punched a ball away that Jonathan Burkardt had hit on the short corner, but had to admit defeat two minutes later: Marcus Ingvartsen initiated a Mainz combination with Burkardt and Anton Stach, but then got the ball out of the side Five-meter space pushed – until he placed a shot under the bar to make it 1-0.
Despite all the difficulties that Eintracht struggled with, they still scored a plus in terms of effectiveness. She equalized with the first chance to score. Keeper Finn Dahmen fended off a header from Rafael Borré from close range after a Kostic free-kick in the middle of the goal, but Tuta beat Alexander Hack in the fight for the rebound (26′). The Frankfurters found their way into the game, Ansgar Knauff initiated the lead with an attack from the center line and a deep pass to Borré.
That lasted until five minutes after the change of sides, until Ingvartsen converted a flat pass from Anton Stach directly – after that the encounter, which was fast-paced until the final whistle, developed into an open exchange of blows. “I think it was an entertaining game, there could have been a few more goals,” said 05 coach Bo Svensson. “It was very balanced in terms of play, but we had a few more big chances.”
Many a Mainzer shed tears not because of the missed threesome, but because of Daniel Brosinski’s departure after eight years. Substituted with a standing ovation after 69 minutes, celebrated by fans and teammates after the end of the game: Even tough pros can’t ignore that. While the summer break has begun in Mainz, Eintracht is now focusing entirely on the European final. If Svensson has her way, she will win it: “I think Frankfurt is a bit stronger than Glasgow.”