Mainz have held Schalke to a scoreless draw in the weekend's opening Bundesliga action. In a hard-fought match with plenty of chances, both coaches were happy to walk away with a point.
Both teams had their opportunities to go ahead Friday night in Gelsenkirchen, but neither Schalke nor Mainz were able to capitalize in the final third.
The most famous of Schalke's talented youngsters, Julian Draxler, marked his return from injury but started on the bench. That gave teenagers Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka the chance to continue their run of games together in the attack.
The two sides traded chances for most of the first 45 minutes. Schalke's Jefferson Farfan and Mainz's Shinji Okazaki were particularly dangerous. Farfan nearly scored directly off a corner kick early on, while Okazaki's volley from inside the area on the half hour mark drew a good save from Ralf Fährmann.
The best opportunity of the half fell to Farfan just before the break. Max Meyer played a ball into the right side of the box for the Peruvian, who cut in towards goal and fired a shot that was deflected just centimeters wide.
Searching for a winner
The second half picked up with more of the same. Almost immediately after the restart Meyer intercepted a Mainz pass right outside the box and headed towards goal. Charging goalkeeper Loris Karius managed to block the shot, however, and the follow up chip effort from Kevin-Prince Boateng wasn't threatening.
One of Mainz's best opportunities of the match came an hour in. Defender Stefan Bell made good contact with a corner, but he redirected the header straight into the arms of Fährmann.
The shot was illustrative of how the match went for both sides. Schalke and Mainz weren't afraid to get forward in attack, but their finishing consistently let them down in them down in the final third.
Despite a heavy onslaught from Schalke's attack as the clock approached 90 minutes – Draxler, Chinedu Obasi and Adam Szalai were all introduced as the second half wore on – they were unable to break the deadlock.
Happy with a point
It finished scoreless, and both coaches seemed satisfied with the result.
The point leaves Mainz 16 points off the relegation playoff zone and, sitting in seventh place, well within reach of a Europa League spot. Coach Thomas Tuchel expressed his happiness with Friday's match, particularly with his side's organization and composure against a Champions League club.
"I am really happy [with the players' performance.] To come out with a point is even better," he told broadcaster Sky after the match.
The draw ended Schalke's four-game winning streak in the Bundesliga. Firmly in the hunt for Champions League qualification and the runners-up spot, coach Jens Keller seemed happy with his team's effort in a match where both sides came out strong.
"Mainz played really well and were really well organized. They made it really difficult from the start of the first half so we have to be satisfied with a point," Keller told Sky after the match. "Against strong opponents you can live with a draw."