Bundesliga debutant Taiwo Awoniyi and Pierre Kunde scored second-half goals as Mainz came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with fellow Karneval club Cologne.
One of the Bundesliga's form sides prior to the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, 10th-in-the-table Cologne made a dream start inside their fan-less RheinEnergieStadion. Following a VAR review, Mainz defender Moussa Niakhate was penalised for a foul in the box on Mark Uth, who dusted himself off to dispatch the ensuing spot-kick for his fifth league goal in 2020. Karim Onisiwo presented Jean-Paul Boetius with a glorious opportunity to level matters soon after, the but the Dutchman's goal-bound shot was deflected behind by a fantastic last-ditch challenge from Toni Leistner. Onisiwo tested Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn, before Ridle Baku out his body on the line to deny Uth his second of the afternoon late in an open first 45.
Cologne doubled their advantage early in the second half as Florian Kainz ghosted in at the far post to convert substitute Dominik Drexler's inviting right-wing cross. Ellyes Skhiri forced a strong save from Mainz custodian Florian Müller, and it proved a decisive moment in the contest. Awoniyi reduced the arrears with his second touch, guiding in Baku's cross just past the hour. Tails up, Mainz duly levelled through Kunde, who was allowed to drive his way through midfield and into the penalty box before coolly side-footing past the advancing Horn. Müller thwarted Jhon Cordoba, and Leistner headed wide as Mainz held on for a point that puts four points between themselves and the relegation zone with eight rounds of fixtures remaining.
- Mainz scored from two of their first three shots on target.
- Kunde celebrated his 50th Bundesliga appearance with his third goal in Germany's top flight.
- Awoniyi scored with his seventh ever goal attempt in a Bundesliga match.
- Kainz has scored a career-best three Bundesliga goals this season.
- Uth has struck seven times in 10 career meetings with Mainz - more than against any other club. The Schalke loanee has now had a direct hand in nine goals in eight games since returning to Cologne during the winter break (five goals and four assists).
Watch: Kunde: "We spoke about needing to keep faith"
Cologne: Horn - Schmitz (Ehizibue 83'), Bornauw, Leistner, Katterbach - Skhiri, Hector (c) (Rexhbecaj 76') - Kainz (Schindler 71'), Uth, Thielmann (Drexler 46') - Cordoba (Terodde 83')
Unused subs: Kessler, Voloder, Höger, Terodde, Modeste
Out: Czichos (match fitness), Hauptmann (match fitness), Jakobs (match fitness)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Mainz: Müller - St. Juste, Fernandes (Szalai 69'), Niakhate (c) - Baku, Kunde (Latza 83'), Boetius (Barreiro 83'), Martin- Onisiwo (Burkhardt 84'), Quaison - Ji (Awoniyi 56')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Bruma, Brosinski, Öztunali
Out: Mateta (suspended), Zentner (knee)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer