By Andreas Alf at the Waldstadion
Two goals from promising striker Benjamin Auer helped 1. FSV Mainz 05 to a comfortable victory at home to FC MIKA as the German side took a huge step towards the UEFA Cup second qualifying round on their debut in continental competition.
The Armenian team were massive underdogs going into the game and after Petr Ruman gave the Bundesliga outfit the lead on eleven minutes, there was no way back. Auer doubled the advantage ten minutes before half-time, and following Nikolce Noveski's strike to make it 3-0 close to the hour mark, the former Germany Under-21 forward rounded off a comprehensive win with his second of the evening.
But while Auer took the plaudits it was Antonio da Silva who inspired this success. The tireless Brazilian playmaker took the game to the visitors from the kick-off, his probing runs and searching balls immediately putting MIKA on the back foot. The latter defended stoutly but soon found themselves behind when Czech striker Ruman opened his account for his new employers with an excellent long-range drive.
The goal sent a crowd of 22,000 inside local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt's stadium into raptures but while the home defence was never troubled, MIKA goalkeeper Garnik Hovhannisyan was not overly tested either in the minutes that followed. Perhaps it was the lack of action that caught the custodian cold on 35 minutes as he fumbled Benjamin Weigelt's shot from distance into the path of Auer, who slotted in.
Mainz, who qualified via UEFA's Fair Play draw, continued where they left off after the interval, and registered again on 58 minutes when defender Noveski headed in unmarked from five metres. Auer found himself the space nine minutes later to thrash in a volley as Mainz closed in on victory. Only the minor miracle of a four-goal win by MIKA in the second leg in Yerevan on 28 July can deprive them.