Mainz suffered a crushing defeat thanks to a costly penalty kick (PK) double from Ludwigshafen Augsburg.
Mainz fell 1-4 in the opening match of the 2023-24 German Bundesliga season at the Stadion an der Alten Försterlei in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET. The result leaves Mainz in 16th place.
The home team lined up in a 3-5-2 formation. Kevin Verens and Dattro Fofana formed the back three, with Brendan Aaronson, Alex Kraal, and Aisa Raiduni in the middle. Jerome Roussillon, Diogo Reit, Robin Knohe, Danil Dukey, and Christopher Trimmel lined up in defense, with Frederik Löw in goal.
Mainz deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation. Ludovic Azor lined up up top, flanked by Lee Jae-Sung and Karim Onisiewicz. Anton Stach and Leandro Baheiroga in the middle, and Anthony Kaczynski and Danny Dacosta on both wingbacks. Edimilson Fernandes, Stephan Bell, and Dominik Core made up the back three, with Robin Zentner in goal.
Berlin struck first in the opening minutes. In the first minute, a pass from Aaronson on the left flank was met by a quick run from Lucillon and a cross. Berens rattled the net with a header, and the goal was soon doubled. In the ninth minute of the first half, Raiduni’s cross from the right side was headed home by Behrens to complete his multi-goal haul.
Mainz were unable to create much of an offense, and in the 29th minute, a cross from the right side of the field created a scramble in the box. However, the shot was blocked by the defense.
Berlin’s chances came to nothing. In the 31st minute, Lee Jae-sung tackled Berens in front of the penalty arc and a foul was called. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. From the ensuing free kick, Fofana took it himself, but it hit the post. Berlin’s chances for a second goal were gone. In first-half stoppage time, a shot from Reit was saved by Zentner. The first half ended with Berlin holding a 2-0 lead.
The second half was similarly dominated by Berlin. In the seventh minute of the second half, Berens got a header on a corner, but it went just wide of the goal.
Then Mainz made a change. In the 15th minute of the second half, they brought on Core, Onyekibo, Sepp Vandenbergh, and Brian Gruda. Mainz failed to capitalize. In the 16th minute, Gruda was tackled by Reit inside the penalty box, earning a penalty kick (PK). Azork stepped up to take the kick, but his shot to the bottom right corner was saved by the keeper.
Mainz reduced the gap. In the 19th minute, Lee Jae-sung’s pass from the right flank was met by a sharp cross from Dacosta. The defender sent it back with a header, and Kaczyk rattled the net with a volley.
But once again, Berlin doubled their lead. In the 25th minute of the second half, substitute Sheraldo Becker sent in a ball from the right flank that Behrens power-headed home. Becker completed her hat trick.
Mainz hit the ground running. In the 29th minute, Dacosta’s cross was met by Azorc with a header that hit the crossbar. Mainz made a change. In the 30th minute, they took off Lee Jae-Sung and brought on Eamon Barkoğlu.
Mainz won another PK, but it was to no avail. In the 42nd minute, Azorg stepped up to kick again after a PK. But his kick to the bottom left corner was blocked again as the keeper read it. Two misses in one game.
Berlin drove a wedge. In the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, a counter-attack unfolded and Milosi Pantovic beat the goalkeeper before slotting home. The game ended with a 4-1 victory for Berlin.