Bayer 04 Leverkusen suffered a setback in their race to catch up in Europe from their favorite opponents of the last few years.

The Werkself suffered a 2-3 (1-2) defeat at home against FSV Mainz 05 and slipped back to tenth place behind Mainz. The Werkself lost the first leg of the Europa League play-off against AS Monaco on Thursday with the same result.

The duel between the Rhinelanders and Rheinhessen on Carnival Sunday was not a good one, but it was entertaining and at times crazy. Five goals, one converted, one missed and one conceded penalty, a 54-minute first half or a red card prove this.

Frenchman Anthony Caci with his second Bundesliga goal (26th) and Leandro Barreiro (45th 4) put Mainz in the lead twice, Nadiem Amiri (31st) and Patrik Schick (58th) in the Bundesliga comeback after almost four months only 142 seconds after his substitution, each equalized. A penalty kick from Marcus Ingvartsen secured Mainz, who had previously lost eight of ten games against Leverkusen, their fifth away win of the season (82nd). Amine Adli had previously seen the red card for an emergency brake.

Penalty trauma at Leverkusen back

At Bayer, the trauma of the penalty kick that had been believed to be suppressed also returned. After the Werkself had missed all six penalties in 2022 and Edmond Tapsoba had only just been promoted to penalty taker after a goal against Bochum, the Burkinabe player also missed (23′). The fact that Mainz’s Finn Dahmen held the ball could possibly trigger a real goalkeeping discussion among the Mainz team. Because regular goalkeeper Robin Zentner was back in the squad after a back injury and, according to coach Bo Svensson, only had to be on the bench because he wasn’t completely fit yet. “The Robin is and will remain our number 1,” Svensson said before kick-off.

The initial phase was tough, it took 20 minutes until the first excitement. After a pressure hit by Anton Stach and Sardar Azmoun, who was in the starting XI for the first time since matchday 3, referee Robert Schröder awarded a penalty kick. According to the pictures, he remained there, although Stach had certainly hit the ball. But Tapsoba shot weakly, Dahmen was in the right corner and even held the ball.

Ricochet by Kossounou before the 0:1

Two very gross individual mistakes favored the two goals in little more than five minutes. First, Caci used a ricochet from Odilon Kossounou. Then Azmoun took advantage of a miss from Edimilson Fernandes and served Amiri, who converted the ball from the turn. In the 42nd minute, Tapsoba almost became unlucky for good, but goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky prevented an own goal after his rebound.

It was 1:2, simple but well executed: Jae Sung Lee extended a long ball from Caci with his head and Barreiro completed a volley. In the seventh minute of added time, Schröder called a penalty for Mainz, but denied it because Adli had been fouled in the other penalty area.

Alonso, who had made six substitutions before the game, could no longer afford to save energy for Thursday. He made two substitutions at half-time and ten minutes later brought in Schick and Florian Wirtz, the two outstanding Bayer players of the previous season, both of whom had been injured for a long time. But after two rebounds, Schick showed his nose for goal and scored directly. Hradecky then made excellent saves twice against Karim Onisiwo and Lee before the visitors were able to decide.