Japan striker Yoshinori Muto scored his third goal of the season on Saturday, but it was not enough to prevent Mainz from crashing to a 3-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen in the German first division.
A double in the space of four minutes from Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah put Bremen in control and Mainz were left with a mountain to climb when Fin Bartels made it 3-0 to the visitors in first-half stoppage time.
Muto pulled one back in the 89th minute, bundling home a bouncing cross from right-back Daniel Bronsinski inside the six-yard box, but it was too little, too late. The striker then headed straight to hospital to nurse a knock on left ankle.
Elsewhere, Hiroshi Kiyotake set up Felix Klaus for the opening goal, but Hannover went down 2-1 at home to Makoto Hasebe’s Eintracht Frankfurt.
Kiyotake jinked past two defenders from the left and provided a perfectly weighed through ball for Felix Klaus for the opener in the 51st minute, before Marc Stendera’s brace turned the game around.
“It was wasteful. There was a sense of hanging on to a 1-0 lead and we lost without a fight. How we take this defeat will impact on our future standing,” said the playmaker.
Kiyotake and teammate Hiroki Sakai both played the 90 minutes, while Japan captain Hasebe put in a full shift for Frankfurt.
Yuya Osako came on as a second-half substitute in Cologne’s 4-0 defeat away to Bayern Munich, who chalked up their 1,000th Bundesliga win courtesy of goals from Arjen Robben, Arturo Vidal, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.
In Italy, Yuto Nagatomo made his first start of the season for Inter Milan as they drew 1-1 away at Palermo and won some praise from manager Roberto Mancini.
“He readied himself properly for action and although he was tired in the end, he did well,” said the Italian manager of the versatile Japanese, who slotted in at right back and showed stamina and aggression in attack. “I like his earnestness.”
In England, Shinji Okazaki came on in the 63rd minute in Leicester’s 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace, four minutes after on-fire Jamie Vardy scored the only goal of the game.
“Contributing to the win is the only positive,” said Okazaki, who pressed tirelessly after coming on in craving a second goal of the season. “I attracted attention with my defensive abilities earlier in the season to gain the game time. But now there’s a feeling that ‘we play defensively when he’s on.””
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