Undav scores again as Stuttgart overrun Mainz

AFP , Sunday 11 Feb 2024

Stuttgart's Deniz Undav scored his fifth goal in his last three games during a 3-1 home win over lowly Mainz on Sunday.

Undav
Stuttgart s Deniz Undav, left, celebrates scoring with teammate Maximilian Mittelstadt during the Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and FSV Mainz 05 at MHPArena, Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday Feb. 11, 2024. Photo: AP

 

The hosts dominated from start to finish against a struggling Mainz side with only one win in the league this season.

Maximilian Mittelstaedt and Jamie Leweling struck in first-half stoppage time before Undav blasted in on 73 minutes.

Mainz striker Ludovic Ajorque scored a consolation goal a few minutes later.

Serhou Guirassy, who has 17 goals in 14 league games this season, came off the bench in the second half for his first Stuttgart appearance since December, having returned from an injury picked up on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Guinea.

Stuttgart moved three points clear of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund, with RB Leipzig a further three points back in fifth.

Undav, on loan from Premier League side Brighton, now has 14 league goals in 18 appearances this season.

"I don't care how many goals I have -- the main thing is the three points" Undav told DAZN.

Stuttgart, who needed to win a two-legged playoff against second-division Hamburg to stay in the top flight last year, remain on course for a first Champions League appearance since 2009-10.

Stuttgart's season tally of 14 league wins from 21 matches is double their total from last campaign as the 2006-07 German champions continue their impressive turnaround under coach Sebastian Hoeness.

"He's got a clear idea of how he wants to play. He makes it fun but he's also got a winner's mentality," Undav said of the manager.

The loss leaves Mainz second last, kept off the bottom of the table by goal difference.

Later on Sunday, ninth-placed Hoffenheim host Cologne, who sit one spot and three points clear of Mainz in the relegation playoff place.

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