Head coach Oliver Glasner admitted in the build-up that he was treating this match as a “dress rehearsal” for next Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final, and he duly went with the line-up that could start in Seville. The Austrian reverted to the XI that began the semi-final second leg against West Ham United, with the exception of Martin Hinteregger, who suffered a season-ending injury in that match. His place was taken by Almamy Toure.
Efficient Eagles fight back
Mainz made the running early on at the MEWA Arena and Jonathan Burkardt warmed the gloves of Kevin Trapp with a half-volley from a tight angle (8’). The hosts took the lead just two minutes later, though, when Eintracht failed to clear the ball after Anton Stach’s shot was blocked on the line and Marcus Ingvartsen took advantage.
Mainz had clearly been the better side up until the 26th minute, when Eintracht equalised with their first chance. Rafael Borré’s deft header from Filip Kostic’s free-kick was blocked by goalkeeper Finn Dahmen, but Tuta reacted quickest to the rebound to bag his fourth goal of the season. That proved to be a turning point in the contest, and the Frankfurt comeback was complete just nine minutes later. Ansgar Knauff played a perfectly timed through ball into the path of Borré, who beat the offside trap and coolly finished past Dahmen to give Glasner’s men the lead at half-time.
End-to-end second half
The Zerofivers again made the better start in the second half and restored parity just four minutes in, Ingvartsen getting ahead of Tuta to turn in Stach’s cross at the near post. Kostic had the ball in the net for the Eagles three minutes later with a great long-range shot, but Borré had strayed offside in the build-up. The end-to-end action continued as Burkardt laid on a big chance for Aaron Martin, but his shot came off the inside of the post and fortunately into the arms of Trapp (55’), before Kostic’s low free-kick from just outside the area was deflected wide (57’).
The tempo died down a bit thereafter, with both sides making several substitutions – including a triple change from Glasner with an eye on Wednesday’s final. Worryingly, his final substitution was an enforced one as Evan Ndicka limped off (68’). Mainz then thought they’d scored a winner when Burkardt took advantage of some confusion in the reshuffled Eintracht defence and headed the ball out of Trapp’s hands and into the net, but the goal was disallowed for handball by referee Martin Petersen, who stood by his decision following a video review. The game remained open until the end, with Ajdin Hrustic for Eintracht (84’) and Kevin Stöger for Mainz (90’+1) both squandering good opportunities, but it finished 2-2.
Summary: Entertaining draw
After a poor opening 25 minutes, Eintracht can be satisfied with the performance and the result at Mainz. The possible injury to Ndicka is the most worrying aspect as attention now turns to the Europa League final against Rangers on 18 May.
Trapp – Toure (Ilsanker 59’), Tuta (Hasebe 59’), Ndicka (Lenz 68’) – Knauff, Sow, Rode (Jakic 46’), Kostic – Hauge (Hrustic 59’), Kamada – Borré
1-0 Ingvartsen (10’)
1-1 Tuta (26’)
1-2 Borré (35’)
2-2 Ingvartsen (49’)