Mainz secure valuable point in lackluster draw | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.04.2012
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Sports

Mainz secure valuable point in lackluster draw

Mainz and Wolfsburg played to a scoreless draw in Friday night's Bundesliga contest. The single point means Mainz have virtually guaranteed that their fans will be watching first-class football next season.

The two teams went into Friday's night's game in a comfortable position, with the home side, Mainz, looking just about safe from the drop in 12th position and eight points between themselves and 16th place FC Cologne.

Wolfsburg were in 10th, still with a vague hope of using their final three matches of the season to qualify for the Europa League.

Both sides began cautiously, but that began to change in the 5th minute when Mainz's Egyptian striker, Mohamed Zidan, found himself in possession at the top of the Wolfsburg box. His shot was easily saved by Diego Benaglio.

That first chance seemed to get coach Felix Magath's men back on their heels, as Mainz launched a series of attacks that the Wolfsburg defenders managed to beat back. Mandzukic got Wolfsburg's first effort on goal but his headed shot went straight at Mainz keeper Christian Wetklo.

Mainz continued to have more of the ball, with Zidan and Adam Szalai causing particular problems for the Wolfsburg defense. Szalai went down after dribbling into the Wolfsburg area, but referee Robert Hartmann immediately dismissed his appeal for a penalty.

Second half

Both managers made changes at the break, with Felix Magath sending Christian Träsch into the fray for Makoto Hasebe and Rasmus Jonsson replacing Petr Jiracek. Thomas Tuchel, who was in charge of his 100th game for Mainz, made just one change, bringing on Sam Allagui for Ivanschitz.

Mainz striker Mohamed Zidan (l.) and Wolfsburg's Marco Russ.

Wolfsburg's defenders struggled to contain Zidan (right)

The second half began with Mainz keeping up the pressure - Zidan playing the ball through to Szalai, who forced a decent save from Benaglio. Seven minutes later, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting launched another foray towards the Wolfsburg area, but skied the ball.

This was followed up by a break by Zidan, who had the ball poked away from his feet at the last second.

Vieirinha drew a free kick just outside of the Mainz area in the 64th minute, and Alexander Madlung made good use of the opportunity, hitting a blistering effort that Wetko did well to push over the bar.

This seemed to lift Wolfsburg's confidence, but they failed to make anything of a further couple of attempts in quick succession. An attack by Manduzkic in particular, his attempted short-range aerial pass falling into the grateful arms of Wetko, could have been better.

Mainz had a second appeal for a penalty turned down in the 89th minute - this time it was Caligiuri who'd barged into the area - but Hartmann was unconvinced by the home side's arguments.

In the end, neither team managed to find the mark and the scoreless draw was a fair result, which Mainz will be more satisfied with than the visitors. The home side has almost certainly avoided the drop while, for Wolfsburg, the result sees their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League become even fainter.

Author: Chuck Penfold
Editor: Richard Connor