WATCH: KHEDIRA: “A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”
WATCH: MWENE: “A LITTLE PRESENT FOR MY HARD WORK”
FULL-TIME: MAINZ 1-1 HERTHA
A thoroughly entertaining encounter at the Opel Arena ends 1-1. Mainz were the better side - with 16 shots to seven, and almost 60 per cent of possession - but Hertha did enough to earn a point through Lucas Tousart's first goal for the club. The headlines will go to Phillipp Mwene, who scored an absolute screamer to open his Bundesliga account and edge the 05ers closer to survival. Head back to the homepage to enjoy our match report, and thanks very much for tuning in! We'll be back on Thursday evening with coverage of Hertha's next rescheduled game, at home to Freiburg. Tschüss!
AND NOW LATZA!
Outrageous tekkers from Brosinski, who nutmegs his opponent before crossing in for Latza and/or Quaison. It's Latza who gets his head to it, but his body shape is wrong and it goes out for a goal kick. A few seconds to go...
The Mainz captain could have been the hero, but his header from a corner is straight at Schwolow.
THREE MINUTES OF TIME ADDED ON
A PROPER RELEGATION BATTLE
© KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
FRESH LEGS FOR MAINZ
It Svensson's turn to make a triple substitution, with Latza, Quaison and Brosinski entering the fray. You get the feeling they would be happy enough with a point - it's Hertha who really need the victory.
PIATEK HAS TO SCORE!
What a miss from Krzysztof Piatek, who has just replaced Cordoba! The Pole is perfectly placed to turn home Darida's cross from close range but gets the ball stuck in his feet, and the chance goes begging.
GREAT COVERING FROM NIAKHATE!
Guendouzi plays a clever little ball into Cordoba, but the Mainz captain comes sliding in before the Colombian can get a shot away, and smacks it behind for a corner.
It's great to see the Hertha captain making his first appearance since December after a long injury layoff.
HERTHA CLEAR THE DANGER
... but it's straight into the wall, and then Hertha win a free-kick. Into the final 15 minutes, will there be late drama at the Opel Arena?
ST. JUSTE BROUGHT DOWN
He's fouled just outside the area by Ascacibar, who is booked for his troubles. The free-kick is about 25 yards out...
DA COSTA HURT?
The Mainz man is briefly down after a collision with Cunha, but he's OK to play on. Meanwhile the Brazilian is replaced by Radonjic in Hertha's attack.
Just after that nice bit of play Cunha gets a yellow card for scything down Barreiro. Hertha are managing to keep the ball better since switching to what looks like a 4-2-3-1.
GREAT PLAY FROM CUNHA!
Lovely footwork from the Brazilian, who skips away from da Costa on the left and unleashes a curling effort that Zentner has to push behind for a corner. Hertha have made a tactical switch since those substitutions, they're now playing with four at the back.
AND NOW ONISIWO!
Onisiwo gets into the Hertha area and wins his duel with Boyata, one of three men who's just come on for Hertha, but the Mainz forward can't beat Schwolow from a tight angle. Mainz looking to press home their advantage as Hertha adjust to those changes.
ST. JUSTE GOES CLOSE!
A fine corner delivery in from Mwene, and St. Juste gets on the end of it - drawing a rather acrobatic save from Schwolow.
Hertha are about to make a triple substitution as they go in search of a vital win.
A LITTLE LESS FRENETIC
After a high-tempo first half the players just seem to be catching their breath. Here come Hertha, though, with Mittelstädt's rising cross forcing Zentner into conceding a corner. In it comes and the Mainz keeper eventually gathers.
© Alex Grimm/Getty Images
MAINZ ALREADY ON THE FRONT FOOT
The hosts have picked up where they left off before the break - they have their feet on the ball and are trying to put Hertha under pressure, although a ball through to Szalai comes to nothing.
HERTHA'S SURVIVAL ON THE LINE
A reminder that Hertha (26 points) are currently 17th in the Bundesliga table, which spells automatic relegation - but they have three games in hand on the sides above them: Cologne (29), Arminia Bielefeld (30) and Werder Bremen (30).
OFF WE GO AGAIN!
We're back underway in Mainz.
© Alex Grimm/Getty Images
What a superb first half at the Opel Arena, those 45 minutes absolutely flew by. On balance Hertha will probably be the happier side, because Mainz dominated and could easily have been out of sight if they had taken more of their chances. More of the same after the break please!
STUNNING FROM MWENE
The Mainz man picks up the ball just outside the Hertha area, takes a couple of touches and then unleashes an absolutely unstoppable effort into the top corner. What a way to get his first Bundesliga goal! The xG stat - just 2% - tells you everything you need to know. Check that finish out as soon as our highlights are available in your region.
WHAT A HIT!
Take a bow Phillipp Mwene! An absolute thunderbolt to bring Mainz level!!
BELL TAKEN OFF
Stefan Bell conceded the free-kick that led to the Hertha opener, and was riding his luck a little after his earlier booking. Svensson has decided he doesn't want to end up with 10 men, so on comes Alexander Hack.
TOUSART HEADS HERTHA IN FRONT
But it's Lucas Tousart who gives Hertha Berlin a 1-0 lead! It's a brilliant free-kick delivery from Dardai, and the Frenchman goes in bravely to nod in what could be a vital goal for his side.
MAINZ ON TOP
Hertha players may be leading the top speed stats (see below), but Pal Dardai's side are being given the runaround by Mainz. The men in red are dictating the tempo and creating the better chances - all they need is a goal to consolidate their dominance.
HERTHA LIVING DANGEROUSLY
Mainz are really turning the screw here - Barreiro rifles another effort just over the bar. How long can Hertha hold on?
WICKED BALL IN FROM DA COSTA
The Mainz full-back skips up the byline and looks to pick out Onisiwo inside the six-yard box, but his low cross is cut out by the Hertha defence.
A BATTLING START IN MAINZ
© KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Barreiro slips a lovely ball through to Szalai, who stays onside and tries to chip the ball over Schwolow - but the Hungarian doesn't get enough lift on it and the Hertha keeper makes a fine save.
GUENDOUZI TESTS ZENTNER
Another good ball in from Cunha - his free-kick delivery finds Guendouzi, who hits it straight at Zentner.
Good link-up play between Szalai and Boetius leads to another Mainz corner, which comes to nothing. The hosts are looking sharp, although Hertha are growing into the game. Bell goes into the book for bringing down Cordoba.
Close but no cigar for Niklas Stark, who comes flying in unmarked to meet a Hertha corner - he can't steer his powerful header on target. We've had a lively start at the Opel Arena, already a handful of chances and an effort off the bar.
Another long throw-in, again Hertha deal with it poorly, and again Boetius is in! This time the Mainz man is denied by the woodwork - the underside of the bar, to be exact - and the Hertha bench breathe a sigh of relief. The hosts are starting to take control here, they look like a team in confidence.
GREAT CHANCE FOR BOETIUS!
The Dutchman won't want to see a replay of this in a hurry. After a long throw-in, the ball falls nicely for him at the back post, but he gets his feet in a tangle and can't get a proper shot away. He should have at least tested Schwolow in the Hertha goal.
AND A FIRST CHANCE FOR MAINZ
Mwene whips in the game's first corner, and Bell heads just over the bar from just outside the six-yard box. Not a bad effort from the home centre-back.
FIRST CHANCE FOR HERTHA
Cunha has a free-kick outside the area, but he aims it straight at Zentner - easy for the Mainz keeper.
Hertha get the ball rolling in Mainz. It's their first game since 10 April!
PLAYERS ON THE PITCH
Kick-off is just a few moments away at the Opel Arena!
DARDAI: "EVERY GAME IS A FINAL NOW"
It's been an unusual few weeks for Hertha coach Pal Dardai, who will no doubt be relieved to finally get back to footballing matters this evening. "I'm happy with how we're looking and the boys are in good shape," he said in his pre-game press conference. "Now we have to make sure we play intelligently and with a clear head. If we can get at least four points from these three outstanding games, then we won't be in a relegation spot any longer. After that, we just have to see how many points we need from our final three games. Every game is a final for us now."
... AND HERTHA ARRIVING BEFORE THEIR LONG-AWAITED RETURN TO ACTION.
MAINZ HEADING OUT FOR THEIR WARM-UP...
SVENSSON EXPECTING "AN INTENSE GAME"
Mainz could make it 19 points from a possible 21 in the Bundesliga tonight, but Svensson is taking nothing for granted against Hertha, who will be hungry to perform after their Covid-19-enforced hiatus. "You can imagine, from a human perspective, what it's like to sit at home for a fortnight," the Dane said. "We expect Hertha to come here full of beans, which won't make our task any easier. I expect an intense game with a lot of emotion and passion. A close game in which we have to put in a very good performance defensively."
THE SVENSSON EFFECT
HERTHA PACKING THE MIDFIELD
The visitors look like they want to protect their defence tonight, with Pal Dardai deploying Lucas Tousart, Sami Khedira and Matteo Guendouzi - all midfielders of a defensive persuasion - in either a 3-5-2 or a 3-3-2-2. Deyovaisio Zeefuik and Maximilian Mittelstädt will be trying to add attacking thrust from out wide, with Jhon Cordoba and Matheus Cunha the dangermen up top.
ONISIWO AND SZALAI LEAD THE LINE FOR MAINZ
Svensson has decided to start with Karim Onisiwo and Adam Szalai up front, which is a little surprising - given that Jonathan Burkardt and Robin Quaison were both on target against Bayern last time out. Admittedly, Burkardt suffered a blow to the head against the record champions and had to go off at half-time. He begins on the bench, alongside four-goal top scorer Quaison.
Körber, Pekarik, Darida, Piatek, Alderete, Ascacibar, Boyata, Radonjic, Torunarigha
HERTHA STARTING XI
Schwolow - Klünter, Stark (c), M. Dardai - Zeefuik, Tousart, Khedira, Guendouzi, Mittelstädt - Cunha - Cordoba
Dahmen, Brosinski, Hack, Latza, Öztunali, Stöger, Quaison, Burkardt, Glatzel
MAINZ STARTING XI
Zentner - St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate (c) - da Costa, Barreiro, Kohr, Mwene - Boetius - Szalai, Onisiwo
MAINZ ON A CHARGE
The 05ers were very much in the thick of the relegation scrap a few weeks ago, but a run of three straight wins has put them on the verge of securing their Bundesliga status for another season. Bo Svensson's men came out on top of six-pointers with fellow strugglers Cologne and Werder Bremen, and then made headlines by beating leaders Bayern Munich, who were forced to put their title celebrations on hold for at least a fortnight. Mainz currently sit 12th, five points above the relegation play-off place, so another win tonight should see them home and dry.
Welcome to our live text coverage of a crunch relegation encounter - certainly as far as Hertha Berlin are concerned! The Old Lady have been out of action for over three weeks due to a Covid-19 outbreak, which led to the postponement of their games against Mainz, Freiburg and Schalke. During their period of self-isolation tonight's visitors slipped to 17th in the table, and are about to embark on a marathon run-in of six games in the space of just 20 days. Suffice it to say, they're very much in need of a win at the Opel Arena.
Here you will find the most important information on the game between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Hertha Berlin on Matchday 29 of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season.