1. FSV Mainz 05 – Match Report vs RB Leipzig 24/05/20

Mainz suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat at the hands of a rampant Leipzig side who could have hit double figures had they taken all of their chances. Having suffered an 8-0 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Mainz came into the game looking to give a better account of themselves but their hopes of getting anything from the match faded rapidly as they went into the break 3-0 down. They then conceded again shortly after the restart, before conceding a fifth with 15 minutes left.

Mainz set up in a 5-4-1 formation and looked to make themselves hard to break down and hit Leipzig on the counter, but they failed to commit enough numbers to ever really threaten, and were unable to register a single shot in the first half. In attack they were rarely able to find space out wide to deliver and they made too many individual errors under the constant Leipzig pressure. Despite battling hard, their defensive unit lacked organisation and in the end they could not deal with the amount of players that the opposition committed when going forward.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Moussa Niakhate

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 08/03/1996
  • Current Club: Mainz
  • Career: Lille (Y), Boulogne (Y), Valenciennes, Metz, Mainz
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Niakhate played about as well as a central defender can in a game that they concede five goals. Physically, he showed excellent strength and a good turn of pace as well as providing a decent aerial presence at 6’3. Defensively he used this strength well at times, battling aggressively in duels and shielding the ball competently, whilst trying to delay the attacker when in 1 v 1 situations. He also made a couple of solid headers to prevent chances and one or two good blocks. However, Niakhate struggled with defensive communication, being caught out too many times by through balls or finding himself in a defensive line that was too square to the Leipzig attack, as well failing to show awareness of late arrivals into the penalty area.

With the ball, Niakhate seemed confident and composed when passing out from the back, finding some good balls out wide and into central midfield. He rarely drove with the ball, but on the one occasion that he did he very nearly lost the ball in a dangerous position that would have left his team exposed. When possible he looked to pass forward but he regularly did not have many options in possession.

Overall, there were some areas for improvement but Niakhate was far from the worst player on his team as they came up against an electric Leipzig side.

Rating: B1

Pierre Kunde

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Cameroonian
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 26/07/1995
  • Current Club: Mainz
  • Career: Alcobendas, Atletico Madrid B, Extremadura (L), Granada (L), Mainz
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Second position: Defensive Midfield / 10
  • Preferred foot: Right

Kunde showed glimpses of his ability in a tough game for his team before being withdrawn with half an hour left to play. He is a very stocky player who is very strong on and off the ball, despite not being much of an aerial presence and he used this strength well at times. In the tackle he was aggressive and physical, trying to hassle his opponent and this worked on a couple of occasions but he also let his aggression get the better of him when he received a yellow card for late tackle and was beaten by the attacker as he dived in.

His defensive positioning and awareness let him down at times during this match, he started off well, showing urgency to mark attackers but as the game wore on he failed to track midfield runners. The Cameroonian also failed to screen passes into the forwards or prevent gaps between the lines, as Werner constantly found space between the Mainz defence and midfield.

When his team were possession, Kunde saw little of the ball but showed good drive from midfield, finding some decent passes yet also losing the ball on a couple of occasions which kept his team on the back foot. He did look to take the ball on the turn but struggled against the Leipzig defensive set up and so was unable to have much of an attacking impact.

Rating: B2

Edimilson Fernandes

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swiss
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 15/04/1996
  • Current Club: Mainz
  • Career: Sion, West ham, Fiorentina (L), Mainz
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield / Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Fernandes struggled against the skilful and energetic Leipzig midfield in this match, despite displaying some of the qualities that he does possess. At 6’3 but with a slim build, Fernandes is able to make himself a physical presence in the midfield whilst also showing a decent level of pace. On the ball, he made some very tidy first time passes either out wide or into the forward players, but he also made some loose passes that sloppily gave away possession in midfield in a game where possession was a rare and valuable commodity for Mainz. His first touch was mainly good and he showed good awareness, strength and drive to turn his man on occasion and drive up the pitch. However, he did get caught on the ball once or twice which left the defence exposed. As a team, Mainz created very little in the final third and this included Fernandes apart from one decent delivery from out wide.

When defending (of which he had to do a lot in this match), the Swiss midfielder adopted some good covering positions to make blocks and clearances, but regularly failed to track the Leipzig midfield runners or close the gap between midfield and defence. He was beaten on a few occasions by the opposition’s clever interplay and was turned or beaten by quick feet a couple of times, at which he showed his frustration by making a late challenge.

Overall, just like the rest of his team, the 24 year old was unable to contain the rampant Leipzig attack, but he did show some quality when on the ball.

Rating: B2

Bote Baku

Player profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 08/04/1998
  • Current Club: Mainz 05
  • Career: Mainz 05
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing at right wing back in this game in Mainz’s 5-4-1, Baku had a fairly quiet match. He’s not the biggest at 5’9″ but is a decent build and is athletic with good speed over medium distances and worked hard to track back and make recovery runs. He had good pace to keep up with attackers, staying tight and able to delay their attacks but didn’t lunge in or try to actively win the ball, instead forcing them to play backwards.

In the buildup phase he had okay passing technique but mainly kept his passing simple, often backwards to the right centre back. He rarely made passes inside to the midfielders but in a game where Leipzig dominated possession Mainz were forced to try and counter. Baku tried several chipped balls over the opposition’s defensive line which worked quite well to put runners into space. He didn’t get into the final third much himself but did look to travel into wide space when he could but didn’t do that well in tight spaces and lost the ball trying to pass through Leipzig’s press.

In and around the box Baku looked uncomfortable defensively and failed to defend the back post. His concentration was lacking and was caught ball watching at times, not communicating with his centre half enough and lacklustre marking in the box. For Leipzig’s second goal he followed the wrong man, leaving Poulsen unmarked. His positioning was a bit off at times, he’s still learning the position but he could have been more focused at times.

Rating – B2

Jeremiah St. Juste

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 19/10/1996
  • Current Club: Mainz 05
  • Career: Heerenveen, Feyenoord, Mainz 05
  • Position: Centre Half
  • Secondary position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

St Juste was comfortable on the ball when in space, taking progressive touches and moving into space but lost control of the ball under his own feet a few times and lacked elegance in possession. Playing on the right of the back three St Juste lacked positional discipline and pushed out a lot with mixed success. He was dragged out of position too easily by the Leipzig movement and in the box he was frantic at times with his marking. He lacked awareness when facing crosses and could have communicated better at times.

He is athletic, able to compete with attackers with pace, with a good burst to push out of the line quickly. He was strong in the air and good physically but positioning and marking made him less effective in the box.

Rating – C

Florian Muller

Player profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 13/11/1997
  • Current Club: Mainz
  • Career: Mainz
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Preferred foot: Left

It was a very difficult day at the office for Muller who spent a lot more time than he would have liked picking the ball out of the back of his own net. The goalkeeper was left exposed on many occasions and did his best to prevent Leipzig reaching the scoreline of earlier in the season. On the ball, he was confident and made crisp passes out to his defenders and showed a good range when kicking long. With regards to shot stopping, he was unfortunate in that most of the opposition’s goals came from close range which gave him little chance of saving them. However, he did show good reactions to get a hand to at least one of them and he made some good saves as well, one in particular that saw him dive low to his right to prevent a header finding the back of the net.

Muller was confident when coming off his line to make aerial claims, but he was caught in no mans land on two occasions when misjudging a pass over the top and conceded from one of them. What the keeper did do well was get out quickly to the striker’s feet to close the angle and rush them into their shot when a cross along the ground came in. On the whole, this game was a difficult one upon which to judge the goalkeeper who was regularly left exposed against a very good team.

Rating: C

Aaron Martin

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 22/04/1997
  • Current Club: Mainz
  • Career: Espanyol, Mainz
  • Position: Left back
  • Secondary position: Left wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Aaron Martin had a poor game at left wing back, failing to fulfil his defensive duties whilst also offering little in attack apart from a couple of set piece deliveries and one or two crosses from open play in the dying embers of the game. Defensively, the Spaniard was regularly beaten by balls in behind him and in 1 v 1 duels where he struggled with the pace and movement of the Leipzig attack, getting caught flat footed. Despite standing at 5’11, he was weak in a few aerial battles and offered little in the way of a physical defensive presence.

The 23 year old struggled to get forward, pinned back by Leipzig’s almost constant onslaught, but when he did get the ball he was inconsistent. Some of his crosses failed to beat the first man whilst others were put into dangerous areas. He didn’t get much of a chance to attack but he rarely took on players with the ball at his feet and didn’t really threaten.

Overall, it was a very poor performance from Martin who failed to really have a positive impact at either end.

Rating: D

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