Eintracht Frankfurt's hopes of securing a top-four berth suffered a setback in their penultimate game of the season, with Mainz forward Anthony Ujah hitting a brace to seal a 2-0 win for the visitors to the Commerzbank-Arena.
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Mainz
Goals: 0-1 Ujah (53'), 0-2 Ujah (57')
The match started very much in the way you would expect of a regional derby between local rivals: at full throttle. There was no sign of heavy legs from Frankfurt despite going to extra-time and penalties in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals against Chelsea on Thursday, with Filip Kostic and Ante Rebic charging down the left early on to create a couple of half-chances. It was that duo who combined for the best opportunity of what was ultimately a goalless first 45 minutes, when the former sprinted down the wing and crossed for the unmarked Rebic, who volleyed over from eight yards out. There was little but pride at stake for Mainz, but they were nevertheless determined to play their part and went close through long-range efforts from Danny Latza and Jean-Paul Boëtius.
If all the match was missing in the first half was goals, that soon changed after the interval. There appeared to be relatively little danger when Jean-Philippe Mateta chased down a hopeful punt forward, but he did brilliantly to hold off David Abraham and Martin Hinteregger before lofting a ball to the unmarked Ujah at the back post, where the Nigerian forward volleyed home. Ujah grabbed his second of the game shortly afterwards, converting smartly from close range after excellent build-up from Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Frankfurt threw everyone forward in the closing stages in a bid to turn the game around, and although Jonathan de Guzman drew a good save from Mainz goalkeeper Florian Müller and Kostic fired narrowly wide, they could not find the back of the net and consequently slipped down to sixth in the table, a point behind Borussia Mönchengladbach in fourth.
- Given Frankfurt's Europa League involvement, this game was the first in 29 years that has not taken place simultaneously alongside the other eight fixtures on Matchday 33 or 34, as is Bundesliga tradition.
- Makoto Hasebe, who has played largely at centre-back this season, was in central midfield in the Bundesliga for the first time since Matchday 24.
- Ujah made his first start for Mainz since 9 March against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- The forward scored for the first time since Matchday 3 and netted his third Bundesliga brace overall.
- Jovic is Frankfurt's top scorer this term with 17 goals so far, but he hasn't found the net in the Bundesliga since Matchday 28.
- A draw away to Bayern Munich on Matchday 34 might be enough for Frankfurt to qualify for the Champions League next season, providing Gladbach and Leverkusen both lose. If Frankfurt win and neither of those two do, Hütter's men will finish fourth.
Frankfurt: Trapp – Abraham (c), Hinteregger, Falette (Haller 61') – da Costa, Fernandes (De Guzman 61'), Hasebe, Kostic – Gacinovic - Rebic, Jovic (Paciencia 77')
Unused subs: Rönnow, Torro, Toure, Chandler
Out: Rode (knee), Tawatha (ankle)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Mainz: Müller – Brosinski (Donati 46'), Hack, Niakhate, Martin – Gbamin, Kunde, Latza (Baku 80') – Boetius – Ujah (Bungert 90'), Mateta
Unused subs: Zentner, Öztunali, Maxim, Onisiwo
Out: Adler (knee), Mwene (knee)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz