Sports Mole's live text commentary of the Bundesliga clash between Mainz and Stuttgart.
By Liam Power, Reporter Filed: Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 14:00 UK
Last Updated: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 20:51 UK
Mainz went into their Bundesliga opener at home to Stuttgart looking to summer signing Shinji Okazaki for inspiration, as he lined up against his former club.
The hosts wasted little time opening the scoring through German international Nicolai Muller, but Stuttgart were able to respond two minutes later through Vedad Ibisevic.
Okazki marked his debut with a smart finish to give Mainz the lead midway through the second half, with Muller's second giving his side clear daylight in the closing stages.
Martin Harnik's effort late on set up a grandstand finish, but Mainz were able to hold on for maximum points from the opening weekend.
Look back a five-goal thriller from the Bundesliga with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.
2.03pmAfternoon Bundesliga fans! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the first in a double header from the German top-flight, as Mainz 05 host Stuttgart in a clash between sides both aiming to finish in the top half this season.
2.06pmMainz lost a number of key players during the close season, after a relatively successful campaign in mid-table last time round. Despite selling last season's top scorer Adam Szalai to Schalke there is still a positive air around Thomas Tuchel's young side ahead of a new campaign.
2.09pmThe hosts did make one key acquisition during the close season, signing Japanese playmaker Shinji Okazaki, who is line to make a debut against his former side today. Mainz have looked exciting during pre-season, chalking up a string of relatively impressive results in friendlies over the past few weeks.
2.12pmStuttgart should be primed and ready for their opening Bundesliga fixture, after coming through a Europa League qualifier in midweek. The visitors needed goals from talisman Vedad Ibisevic to keep their European campaign on track, but the forward faces a late fitness test this afternoon after picking a knock on Thursday.
2.15pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! We have just received word of today's starting XI's, with positive news for both sides. Ibisevic is passed fit to lead the line for Stuttgart, while Okazaki makes his Mainz debut against his former club. A full look at both starting lineups will follow in just a few moments.
2.23pmMainz fans will get their first competitive look at a trio of debutants this afternoon, with Okazaki joined in the starting XI by Joo-Ho Park and Sebatian Polter, who will lead the line in attack. Okazaki should start on the left wing, while Johannes Geis gets the nod in central midfield.
2.26pmStuttgart also give a pair of new faces their chance to impress from the outset. Daniel Schwaab starts in defence for the visitors, who are without Antonio Rüdiger through suspension. Moritz Leitner also gets a full debut in central midfield, with Ibisevic supported in the final third by Martin Harnik and Ibrahima Traore.
2.29pmPREDICTION! With the Mainz fans belting out their traditional version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' we are just about ready to get underway at the Coface Area. I'm going to sit on the fence slightly and go for a high-scoring draw this afternoon in an entertaining clash.
2 minBoth sides opt for a pre-match huddler and with that this clash between European hopefuls is ready to go. Stuttgart kick off in a changed all-black strip, shooting from right to left.
5 minAn early break down the right from Muller sees Stuttgart tested in defence, but central defender Rocker is alive to the danger. At the other end Ibisevic comes close to meeting a long diagonal pass, with the visitors settling in possession quickly as Traore blasts over from distance.
8 minOkazaki gifts possession to his former teammates in central midfield, with Harnik's clever pass inside just evading Schwaab inside the penalty area. Stuttgart win a corner kick but see a curling cross cleared with ease as Boka smashes high and wide on the follow-up.
11 minA brighter opening for Mainz as Zimling comes close to connecting with a speculative cross at the far post. Ibisevic looks a tough isolated at the other end in attack for Stuttgart, but a player of his quality needs just one opening to make a difference.
14 minTraore injects some pace into proceedings down the left wing, with Mainz just able to clear on the cover as attempted to swap passes with Harnik inside the penalty area. At the other end a swift Mainz break ends with Polter played into a dangerous position, but Tasci comes across to block the striker's run towards goal.
17 minA comedy of errors in the Stuttgart defence has allowed Muller to break clear and give Mainz an early lead, slightly against the run of play. The German international was quick to react as Sakai slipped in possession on the halfway line. Muller charged into the final third with place, jinking past last defender Rocker as he slipped to the ground. A neat finish completed a fine solo effort and the hosts are ahead.
21 minAlmost instantly Stuttgart have levelled at the Coface Arena through star striker Ibisevic. The Bosnian's fourth in as many matches was a poacher's finish, losing his marker to meet a cross at the near post. With time to pick his spot the forward tucked home an instinctive finish, bringing the visitors level within 90 seconds. What a start to our Bundesliga double header!
24 minSUBSTITUTION: The early drama continues as Stuttgart captain Tasci goes down heavily after clearing his lines inside the penalty area. The skipper is replaced almost instantly after signalling to the bench, with Rausch brought on in his place. That change has seen Stuttgart completely reshuffle their back four, with Schwaab moved inside to partner Rocker.
27 minRausch is immediately welcomed by a strong challenge from Muller and unceremoniously dumped to the ground. Stuttgart build a patient attack from the free kick which eventually sees Ibisevic drop deep to shoot from range. His deflected drive goes behind for a corner kick, which Noveski heads clear under little pressure.
30 minSHOT! Stuttgart are pressing the hosts high up the pitch, looking to win the ball back quickly. Mainz manage to exploit the space as Okazaki and Muller create a superb opening for Polter. The striker has time and space to pick his spot from close range, but can only send a central strike towards Ulreich, who parries clear. What a chance that was for Mainz to take the lead!
33 minSAVE! Mainz decide to build from the back with sustained possession, with Park's attempted overlap eventually finding Polter in the final third. Stuttgart initially clear the lines but the hosts recycle possession and cross towards Okazki, who fires a volley towards goal. His powerful effort is struck low and hard but stays central enough for Ulreich to palm away with a strong stop.
36 minStuttgart go long as Rausch looks for Ibisevic inside the penalty area, with the forward found by Harnik's flick header. The Bosnain delays his shot and attempts to wriggle clear in the box, but Mainz have both central defenders covering and crowd the striker out before smashing clear.
39 minYELLOW CARD! Mainz win a free kick just outside the penalty area after Schwaab's challenge with studs showing on Polter. Stuttgart goalkeeper Ulreich is livid and confronts the referee, with his protests earning the game's first booking for dissent. Geis eventually takes for the home side, with his effort hitting the wall.
42 minStuttgart get a dangerous free kick of their own as Park is penalised for a late challenge. Rausch delivers a teasing cross into the danger zone when play resumes, but his effort drifts clear without an additional touch from any player in a congested penalty area.
44 minTraore drives inside and with space to shoot elects to try his luck from 30 yards. A swerving effort is always going wide and goes well beyond Muller's near post, despite a late dive from the goalkeeper.
45 min+2Both sides look ready for the interval as Stuttgart retain possession deep inside their own half with a degree of caution. Mainz return the favour when Okazaki wins the ball back in midfield, with his long diagonal towards Polter falling short.
3.21pmA thoroughly entertaining first half at the Coface Arena as both players trudge off at the break. Mainz probably shaded that first period after a shaky start, but were unable to make Muller's strike count as Stuttgart levelled through Ibisevic just two minutes later.
3.24pmMuller's goal was definitely one to forget for Stuttgart, who allowed the German international to run the length of their half unchallenged after Rocker's untimely slip. Labbadia's men responded strongly through, with Traore and Ibisevic combining for an almost instant equaliser.
3.27pmSummer signing Polter should really have levelled for the hosts, but his low effort from point-blank range was parried clear by Ulreich. Stuttgart actually started the match more assured in possession, with Harnik and Traore regularly drifting inside to cause problems for the hosts.
3.30pmIbisevic has shown in that first half why he is so instrumental for the visitors. The Bosnian has scored all four of Stuttgart's goals so far this season in all competitions, and his clinical volley after 18 minutes showed why he has earned a reputation as one of the Bundesliga's most reliable strikers.
3.33pmWhile Muller has been impressive down the right for Mainz this afternoon, coach Tuchel will want more from summer signings Okazaki and Polter when play resumes. Okazaki has shown patches of creative play against his former club, but needs to provide lone striker Polter with a more consistent supply line in the final third.
3.35pmBENCH WATCH! If the match remains tight in the closing stages Stuttgart have a number of exciting options to call upon from the bench. Cacau, Maxim and summer signing from Hannover Abdellaoue could all make a difference in the second period.
47 minYELLOW CARD! Within a minute of play resuming Stuttgart defender Rocker finds himself cautioned after a high challenge on Polter. A needless lunge from the centre-back, who has looked less than assured so far this afternoon.
50 minMainz have settled quickly in the second half, with Okazaki and Zimling combining to find Park on the right wing. Eventually his cross falls to Pospěch outside the penalty area, with his serving strike sitting up nicely for Ulreich to catch.
53 minYELLOW CARD! Leitner becomes the third Stuttgart player cautioned after a high foot raised in an attempt to win the ball in central midfield. The referee had little choice but to caution the youngster, who must now be careful for the remaining 40 minutes.
56 minRocker clips a floated cross into the penalty area, which finds a clever run inside from Harnik. The winger races forward but an unkind bounce sees Mainz recover and crowd out the danger, with Muller eventually coming across to claim.
59 minSAVE! Heinz Muller has just been forced to make easily his best stop of the match to keep Mainz level. Stuttgart put together a sweeping move as Traore picked out Harnik inside the penalty area. His scuffed low shot stayed central enough for Muller to parry, with Park on hand to smash clear the rebound. A few warning signs now for hosts, who have lost some zip in their play, particularly in central midfield.
62 minSAVE! A promising Mainz move sees Pospech pick out Muller inside the box with a precise pass, but for once the winger's first touch evades him and allows Rocker to clear. The hosts soon stride forward down the right again through Pospech, who drives into the penalty area unmarked. His fierce drive looks destined the for top corner, but Ulreich somehow tips over with a stop he knew very little about.
65 minYELLOW CARD! Action at both ends sees Harnik's flick with the outside of his foot kept out by Muller's outstretched foot. At the other Polter then launches into a reckless challenge on Rocker, who needs treatment as the forward picks up a deserved caution.
69 minWith the match deadlocked who else but Okazaki to pop up and give Mainz the lead against his former employers. The Japanese international controlled neatly inside the area, twisting past his marker before skweing his shot inside the bottom corner. Advantage to Mainz as Ulreich is finally beaten after a string of fine saves.
72 minSAVE! Stuttgart go within inches of another immediate equaliser as Heinz Muller is forced to tip Rausch's curling free kick over the crossbar. Meanwhile the visitors have thrown on a second striker to support Ibisevic, with Cacau replacing the largely anonymous Leitner.
75 minMainz are furious as Noveski is penalised for a challenge on Ibisevic, giving Stuttgart another free kick just outside the penalty area. Once again Rausch curls a fierce effort on target, but much like a few minutes ago Muller is equal to the effort and tips over the woodwork. From the following corner Okazaki is back on the line to head clear as Rausch's cross looked to creeping in direct.
78 minStuttgart coach Labbadia must be so frustrated that his side only seemed to find form when they trail this afternoon. Mainz are pressed deep inside their own half as Traore leads another attack, with the hosts weighing up changes to preserve their slender advantage as Park denies Harnik at the far post.
81 minSUBSTITUTION: Here comes the cavalry for Mainz as the hosts make a pair of changes. Moritz and Choupo-Moting have been brought on to provide fresh legs, with Polter and Zimling the players to make way.
84 minMuller strikes again for Mainz as incisive counter surely gives the home side all three points. Stuttgart were caught cold as Choupo-Moting found his teammate inside the penalty area with a flick forward. Muller's scuffed shot went into the ground but still had enough to beat Ulreich, who got a hand to the strike but could not prevent the German international doubling his tally. Game over at the Coface Arena?
87 minWell I spoke to soon, stand by for a grandstand finish as Stuttgart reduce the deficit after a clanger from Heinz Muller. The goalkeeper spilled Cacau's low shot under no pressure, with his parry allowing Harnik to tap home unmarked from close range. 3-2 with just a few minutes left as Stuttgart send Abdellaoue on for Traore in search of an unlikely equaliser.
89 minMainz are struggling to see this out as Ibisevic is left unmarked at the far post. Muller reads the danger and comes out to claim, with his defenders getting an earful for failing to pick up Stuttgart's top scorer inside the penalty area.
90 min+1Abdellaoue is adamant that Stuttgart should have a penalty after Noveski climbed all over Ibisevic, quite the opposite approach to Mainz's marking from the previous corner kick. The referee waves away protests from the visitors as we head into the second minute of stoppage time.
4.25pmIn the end Mainz do just enough to deny Stuttgart any points on the opening weekend, inspired by wide duo Muller and Okazaki. What a way to start out Bundesliga double header, with Schalke against Hamburger to follow in a matter of moments here at Sports Mole. Good afternoon!