Mainz assured us of a lower division team in the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal. This evening they they upset Schalke 04 at home in front of a sold out Bruchweg. Most of the game had been a domination of possession by Schalke leading to no end product, followed by occasional counters by Mainz leading to no end product.
It was a rather dull affair, which wasn’t fair to the boisterous fans of either club whom brought the sense of Carnival, which Mainz is known for, to the game. But two stoic defensive performances were overshadowed by a late goal by Aristde Bance as he caught Bordon and Rafinha flatfooted on a freekick by Florian Heller to slot a set piece home for the only goal of the match.
The southwestern club is through to the semifinals of the DFB Pokal for the first time in their history, having been quarter finalists on four occasions. The magic of the cup is alive in the Rheinland tonight.
5 Random Things You Didn’t Know About Mainz-Schalke
- Schalke are beginning to resemble Chelsea in too many ways. They dress in blue and have ties to Russian oil. They play soulless, mind-numbing football. They are both managed by overrated Dutch trainers. They have a sense of entitlement, which has them better at histrionics than football. They will gang up on a referee over the most meaningless of calls. They lack any concept of sportsmanship. And they have a bunch of overpaid prima donnas.
- It feels like Bordon has returned too soon. He looks visibly fragile, which is not how I can ever remember Bordon looking. In addition, Krstajic was forced to mark Atistide Bance, much like he had to do with the lone striker against Frankfurt. When they face a 4-4-2, Bordon’s early return could truly be exposed. Not that his effort isn’t commendable
- Bordon was marking Bance on the goal. Bance had been a non-factor most of the match. It seemed to show how few options Jorn Andersen has up top when he stuck with the eventual hero for so long. He did little as a target man, and Mainz looked better on the deck, but he provided little in the box when they did so. However Bance timed a run off a deep freekick and was left alone to slot home the only goal late in the game. So whether lack of options or tactical persistence, Andersen was rewarded with his faith in Bance.
- If Mainz manage to secure promotion, we can look forward to seeing a very compact organized side that will hit on the counter. They should be able to compete at the top level because of their strong defense (and this is considering that their center-halves were rested); however, there would be a worry that their double six partnership of Karhan and Pekovic are both on the wrong side of 30. However we were denied a chance to see Roman Neustädter tonight, who is a critical midfielder to the Zweite side. I was very impressed with two of their young defenders: Tim Hoogland and Niko Bungert.
- Kevin Kuranyi is done at Schalke. He’s not the same player he once was. Whether it’s Rutten’s tactics or his own attitude, it’s time for him to start anew elsewhere. He was absent today until he was subbed at half. But all is not not lost, he’s a very talented player, and a change may be all that is needed.