With their second draw of the young season, Svensson’s Mainz have at least pulled themselves out of last place in the table until Sunday, when Köln have a chance to overtake them again.
|Joe Scally.||Photo: Borussia Mönchengladbach|
Two struggling sides had to settle for a point apiece on Friday night at Borussia Park. Gerardo Seoane’s Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bo Svensson’s FSV Mainz 05 shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw on opening night of the 2023/24 German Bundesliga’s seventh match-day. Gladbach’s Joe Scally and Mainz’s Brajan Gruda traded lovely distance strikes in the result.
Coming off the tailwind of the first win of the season, BMG trainer Seoane trusted the exact same XI that successfully dispatched Bochum last week. FSV gaffer Svensson are two changes to the lineup that lost 0-3 against Leverkusen last week. Slumping striker Ludovic Ajorque entered on behalf of the injured Karim Onisiwo. German youth international Tom Krauß also took over for Dominik Kohr – unavailable to start due to illness – in midfield.
The best chance of the opening ten minutes belonged to last week’s Gladbach hero, Alassane Plea. The Frenchman narrowly missed scoring the opening goal in the 9th after some fine set-up work from Maximilian Wöber and a clever leave from Jordan. Gladbach rode the momentum of the early chance and looked by far the better team in possession during the opening half hour. The 1-0 came in the 22nd.
Lacking structure and focus in defense, Mainz allowed Florian Neuhaus to slip into the penalty area unmarked. The 10-times-capped German international headed home a cross from Franck Honorat to give the hosts the lead. The advantage was nevertheless short-lived as Mainz equalized just a couple of minutes later on their first real chance of the match.
Newly capped German youth international Brajan Gruda hammered home an emphatic tomahawk from the edge of the area off a short corner in the 24th. The 19-year-old could hardly have hoped for a more emphatic statement on his very first Bundesliga goal. After the 1-1, Mainz appeared a bit more confident. The Westphalian hosts still lorded over most of the possession until it was time to head into the tunnel.
The second half – with the exception of an exciting scoring chance from Mainz’s Jae-Sung Lee in the 54th – got off to a rather sleepy start. Both coaches reacted with wholesale changes. Seoane introduced Nathan Ngoumou, Tomas Cvancara, and Manu Koné whilst Svensson brought on Aymen Barkok and new signing Anwar El Ghazi.
Svennson’s proved to have the “Midas Touch” with his substitutions. El Ghazi played Barkok through on the left in the 75th. The Moroccan international finished past BMG keeper Moritz Nicolas cheekily after a fine solo run. Just when it appeared as if Mainz were headed for their first win of the season, however, it was one of Seoane’s subs who restored parity again.
American defender Joe Scally – introduced in the 79th – fired home a beautiful distance effort from the half-right outside the penalty area in the 88th. Scally was fouled just outside the box as he tried to enter the area at 90+5, but Gladbach were unable to turn the free-kick from a very promising position into the game-winning goal.