With both teams in UEFA Europa League action this Thursday, it was no surprise to see both managers making changes to their starting-line-up.
Markus Weinzierl opted for five, as Sead Kolasinac, Nabil Bentaleb, Johannes Geis, Alessandro Schöpf and Leon Goretzka replaced Abdul Baba Rahman, Benjamin Stambouli, Junior Aogo, Junior Caicara and Yehven Konoplyanka.
While Schalke bested FK Krasnodar, Mainz drew 1-1 with RSC Anderlecht. From that game, Martin Schmidt dropped Niko Bungert, Karim Onisiwo and Pablo de Blasis to the bench in favour of Leon Balogun, Levin Öztunali and Jairo to liven things up.
Bentaleb blasts hosts ahead
It was no surprise, given their European exertions, that both sides were initially slow to get going at the Veltins-Arena. Both sides had half chances yet they weren't up to much. Ralf Fährmann's failure to deal with a cross wasn't punished as Schalke cleared, while Mainz were managing the threat of the hosts' front four very well.
The first major moment of the opening period then provided the opening goal, as some hard work from Leon Goretzka proved key. The midfielder tracked back and won the ball midway inside the Mainz half before whipping a fantastic cross into di Santo. He chested down and Bentaleb touched down before smashing past Jonas Lössl.
That proved to be the only real upbeat moment of the half. Mainz very rarely came forward after that though John Cordoba did break the Schalke back-line but then failed to take advantage, as a heavy touch put paid to his move forward. Schalke, who threatened with a Geis free-kick, were comfortable up to half-time with a deserved lead.
Schalke stroll to simple win
Neither side made any changes at the break and that was reflected in how the game was going after the restart. Schöpf's cross was blocked by the arm of Gaetan Bussmann but Schalke weren't complaining as Daniel Siebert's advantage allowed di Santo to collect and cut-back for Meyer to rifle in from close range.
Schalke slipped off the pace for just a moment but Mainz were able to make the most of a glimmer of hope. Fährmann's pass out Geis didn't quite work out but and Cordoba stole the ball and went through on goal. The Colombian couldn't find the finish to match his hard work and curled just wide of the bottom left corner.
With that miss and Schalke's third just a moment later, any hope was gone for the Carnival club. This time Kolasinac was the creator with a lung-busting run down the left before he centred the ball for the incoming trio of Schalke attackers. Bentaleb had made an equally strenuous run from the middle of the park and finished with ease.
Mainz then had a goal controversially disallowed for a foul on Fährmann, as Stefan Bell was alleged to have impeded the Schalke stopper before de Blasis headed home. Fährmann then made a good save from Onisiwo, as Siebert called the game to a close moments later; a good win for the hosts, but one to forget for Schmidt's side.