The Karnevalklub began in impressive fashion, intent on reversing their poor run of form, peppering Koen Casteels in the Hoffenheim goal with shots from midfield, but their early verve was quashed by Kevin Volland’s 14th minute strike. His fifth goal of the season was the mark of a man in form, a curling, left-footed finish from the edge of the box.
Eight minutes later, Roberto Firmino plunged Mainz into the depths of despair with one dink of his left foot. The Brazilian was put through by substitute Sven Schipplock, and coolly lifted the ball over an onrushing Heinz Müller.
Maxim Choupo-Moting led the hosts' charge after the restart, his header on 56 minutes nearly troubling Casteels, but neither side gave an inch in the ensuing encounters in midfield. It was always Choupo-Moting who threatened to make the breakthrough, and so it was that in the 81st minute he gave Thomas Tuchel’s men a glimmer of hope with a falling volley at the back-post.
Hope turned into reality at the last, as keeper Müller fired a header in from a corner, which caused a game of pinball in the box. Younes Malli was quickest to react, poking the ball home via numerous deflections, and giving the carnival fans their first points to enjoy since August.
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