10-man Eagles undone in Mainz
Eintracht Frankfurt, who played the entire second half with ten players, were defeated 2-1 by Mainz 05 at the Opel Arena on Monday night.
Second-half strikes from Karim Onisiwo and Adam Szalai cancelled out Martin Hinteregger’s 33rd minute opener, as the Eagles struggled to deal with the expulsion of Dominik Kohr just before the interval.
Personnel: Four changes
Head coach Adi Hütter made four alterations to the side that so impressively overcame Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Evan Ndicka and Almamy Toure came in at the back to replace Makoto Hasebe (flu) and David Abraham (suspension), while Kohr and Sebastian Rode – who was handed the captain’s armband in Hasebe’s absence – were brought in for Gelson Fernandes and Andre Silva, who both took a seat on the bench. Incidentally, this was Eintracht’s youngest starting line-up (25.3 years) of 2019.
First half: Hinteregger breaks deadlock
The first clear-cut chance of the match fell the way of Kohr, who burst into the box to meet Filip Kostic’s looping cross, but could not keep his attempted volley down under the bar. At the other end, Mainz were putting together some useful-looking attacks at pace, but the Eagles’ three-man backline, and Hinteregger in particular, were proving alert to any real danger. As the half wore on, Eintracht began to move the ball around more effectively, and they made the breakthrough in the 33rd minute, Hinteregger slotting the ball home after Toure had set him up neatly in the box. The visitors continued to push forward, but were forced to rethink their approach in the 44th minute when Kohr brought down Levin Öztunali – who was clean through on goal – and received a straight red card from referee Manuel Gräfe.
Second half: 20-minute turnaround
Inevitably, Mainz, with a numerical advantage, began to exert some significant pressure on the SGE rearguard, and they rapidly conjured up an equaliser just five minutes into the second period, Onisiwo getting a touch on a Jerry St. Juste shot to divert the ball into the net via the shins of Hinteregger. Subsequently, the home side had a goal ruled out by VAR and forced Frederik Rönnow into several impressive saves, with his last-gasp intervention at the feet of substitute Szalai the pick of the bunch. It seemed like it was only a matter of time until the Zero-Fivers took the lead, and that was exactly what transpired 21 minutes from time: Szalai, lurking dangerously in the box, collected Onisiwo’s knock-down, span and fired the ball past Rönnow. With about 10 minutes to go, Mainz made the decision to sit on their lead, and the Eagles enjoyed their own brief period of sustained pressure, during which Kostic brought out the best in goalkeeper Robin Zentner, but it was unfortunately a case of too little, too late.
Summary: Disappointing evening
It was a frustrating night for Eintracht and the 6,000 fans who had made the short journey to Mainz, as the loss of Kohr just before half-time – at a point where the Eagles had been in the ascendency – proved too big a gap to bridge against speedy, incisive opponents.
Rönnow – Toure, Ndicka, Hinteregger – Da Costa, Rode (Gacinovic 74’), Kohr, Kostic – Kamada, Sow – Paciencia (Torro 46’)
0-1 Hinteregger (33’), 1-1 Onisiwo (50’), 2-1 Szalai (69')