Two late goals from Robert Glatzel and Kevin Stöger salvaged Mainz a priceless point in a 2-2 draw at Bayer Leverkusen after Lucas Alario and Patrik Schick had put the hosts in command at the BayArena.
Looking for only their third win of the calendar year, and to end a three-game losing streak since beating Borussia Dortmund, Leverkusen made it clear they meant business from the get-go. Their enterprising football was rewarded inside 15 minutes, with Moussa Diaby influential. After nutmegging his Danny aa Costa, the French winger burst clear down the left wing and sent in a teasing low cross which Alario met at the near post with a neat flick past keeper Robin Zentner. Karim Onisiwo almost levelled with a free header which he sent onto the outside of the right-hand post, but it was a rare punctuation of Leverkusen's control of proceedings which was nearly awarded with a second goal before the break. Kerem Demirbay fizzed in a shot which Zentner tipped over before Diaby drilled in an effort which curled just away from the left-hand post.
Leverkusen emerged for the second half without their regular goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, who was replaced by Niklas Lomb, and it was as if their confidence had also been left behind in the dressing room. Leandro Barreiro wasted an excellent opportunity to bring Mainz level early on, volleying over from eight yards out. Moments later, Barreiro went even closer from the edge of the area, placing a shot just wide of the left-hand post. Moussa Niakhate – Mainz's current top-scorer – did have the ball in the back of the net, but VAR confirmed a handball decision against the Mainz defender. Likewise at the other end, VAR confirmed the on-field decision not to allow Demarai Gray's goal to count after Schick had handled. The Czech forward then showed he is much more comfortable with the ball at his feet by scoring Leverkusen's second, turning his marker before slotting a low, angled shot through Zentner's legs. The hosts' relief did not last long, though, as Glatzel reduced the arrears with his first Bundesliga goal, and the comeback was completed in the second minute of stoppage time when Sven Bender inadvertently teed up substitute Stöger to slot the ball past Lomb from close range and earn Mainz a potentially precious point in their battle to avoid relegation.
- Alario also opened the scoring in Leverkusen's 1-0 win over Mainz in the reverse fixture.
- Lomb made his Bundesliga debut after sitting on the bench 34 times, while Hradecky's run of 86 consecutive complete Bundesliga outings – more than anybody else at present – came to an end.
- Schick scored his first goal as a substitute for Leverkusen, having done so twice for RB Leipzig.
- Glatzel opened his Bundesliga account with only his third shot.
- Leverkusen had won each of their last six Bundesliga meetings with Mainz, their best such run against any current top-flight side.
Watch: Bosz: "It's a bad reult"
Leverkusen: Hradecky (Lomb 46') - Fosu-Mensah, Tah (S. Bender 63'), Tapsoba, Wendell - Wirtz, Aranguiz (c), Demirbay (Amiri 72') - Bailey (Gray 72'), Alario (Schick 63'), Diaby
Unused subs: Dragovic, Sinkgraven, Palacios, Frimpong
Out: Arias (ankle), Baumgartlinger (knee), Bellarabi (thigh), L. Bender (calf), Paulinho (knee), Weiser (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Mainz: Zentner - St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate - da Costa, Barreiro (Stöger 83'), Kohr, Mwene - Latza (c) (Boetius 75') - Szalai (Burkardt 83'), Onisiwo (Glatzel 78')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Öztunali, Kilian, Brosinski, Hack
Out: Quaison (knee)
Coach: Bo Svensson