Preview: Mainz 05 vs. Newcastle United

Preview: Mainz 05 vs. Newcastle United

Newcastle United will aim to make it three wins from three pre-season friendly matches when they travel to the Kufstein-Arena to face Mainz 05 on Monday evening.

Eddie Howe’s side ran out 3-0 winners over 1860 Munich on Friday night, while the Bundesliga outfit went down 1-0 to Turkish giants Besiktas.

A goal from the forgotten man himself in Cenk Tosun proved to be the difference in Mainz and Besiktas’ friendly encounter on Friday, as the ex-Everton man struck a first-time effort into the far corner with 24 minutes gone to settle the contest.

Bo Svensson’s side had eased to a 4-0 success over Wormatia Worms before being quelled by Besiktas, and the German top-tier side will finalise their pre-season preparations versus Athletic Bilbao on July 23 before they seek to build on last season’s eighth-placed Bundesliga finish.

Such a standing marked Mainz’s best finish in the Bundesliga since they placed sixth in the 2015-16 season, and Svensson has already overseen a major internal reshuffle in the summer months, with defensive outgoings aplenty at the Mewa Arena.

Moussa Niakhate has headlined a plethora of departures that also includes Daniel Brosinski, Jeremiah St Juste, Kevin Stoger and Luca Kilian, with Angelo Fulgini, Anthony Caci, Danny Da Costa and Aymen Barkok among those to arrive to help steady the ship.

In contrast, Newcastle started as they mean to go in Europe in front of a 600-strong crowd at the Saalfelden Arena, as Eddie Howe oversaw a convincing 3-0 success over 1860 Munich in Austria.

The midfield trio of Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and Bruno Guimaraes were all on target in the second half for the Magpies, who are now two for two in pre-season after thrashing neighbours Gateshead 5-1 at Darsley Park last Saturday.

Predictably, Newcastle have not hesitated to splash the cash this summer and even managed to beat AC Milan to the signing of Sven Botman – a Ligue 1 title winner with Lille – while Nick Pope and Matt Targett have also signed permanent deals at St James’ Park.

The Magpies’ summer business should not end there by any means, as with the financial backing of the much-maligned owners, Howe is in the process of building a Newcastle squad that he hopes to be able to steer back into European football after a prolonged absence.

Facing Benfica, Atalanta BC and Athletic Bilbao will be a good test of Newcastle’s European mettle before the new Premier League season kicks off, where Howe’s side will aim to give Nottingham Forest a harsh welcome back to life in the big time.

Mainz 05 pre-season friendlies form:
Newcastle United pre-season friendlies form:

We say: Mainz 05 0-2 Newcastle United
Most of Newcastle’s signings since their takeover have had the desired impact so far, and the additions of Pope and Botman have only beefed up a Magpies defence that a youthful Mainz attack will struggle to break down.

Svensson’s defensive incomings are also still getting to grips with one another, and we can only envisage Howe’s side marching to a third successive summer victory here.

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