Australian Ajdin Hrustic scored his first Bundesliga goal as Eintracht Frankfurt snatched a late draw in their derby at home to Mainz, but the result sees their UEFA Champions League qualification hopes take a blow.
Mainz came into the game as one of the league’s form teams and looked it from the off. Jonathan Burkardt needed just 30 seconds to force Kevin Trapp into a save. There was little the Frankfurt goalkeeper could do about the goal, though, with Karim Onisiwo picking up the ball and turning some 25 yards out before unleashing a finish into the far bottom corner. The home side eventually got going with quickfire efforts from their Serbian duo of Luka Jovic and Filip Kostic, the latter forcing a save out of Robin Zentner. The international teammates combined again with a typical cross from the left, but Jovic failed to hit the target with his header. Andre Silva looked to be through in search of the goal that will see him equal the club scoring record in a Bundesliga season, but Jerry St. Juste put in a brilliantly timed slide to halt his progress and maintain Mainz’s lead going into the break despite seeing less than a third of the possession.
The game restarted in a similar fashion. Martin Hinteregger glanced a header wide before Daichi Kamada dragged his own effort past the post. Substitute Amin Younes failed to get telling power behind a volley from Timothy Chandler’s cross as the Eagles failed to muster up clear-cut chances and Mainz kept them comfortably at arm’s length. The 05ers had an opportunity to wrap things up when Burkardt played Onisiwo through from the halfway line, but he found no way past Trapp this time. They were made to pay with only minutes remaining when Hrustic, sitting on the floor in the penalty area, managed to get a rebound shot away and over Zentner into the back of the net. It keeps Eintracht in the hunt for a maiden UEFA Champions League qualification, only a point off Borussia Dortmund in fourth. Mainz can now no longer be automatically relegated, having been bottom of the table at the start of January when Bo Svensson took over.
- All four of Onisiwo's Bundesliga goals this season have come away from home. He'd only scored four on the road in his previous five top-flight campaigns combined.
- Hrustic's goal was his first in the Bundesliga with his third shot.
- St. Juste set a new speed record for the season with 36.1 km/h, taking the honour from Erling Haaland.
- Frankfurt have still only kept four clean sheets in the league this season. Only second-bottom Cologne have had fewer (three).
- Eintracht's aim of completing a Bundesliga campaign unbeaten at home since 1973/74 still lives on. They and champions Bayern Munich are the only teams still yet to lose on home soil.
- Mainz have earned 29 points in the Rückrunde, which equals their club record for an entire second half of a Bundesliga campaign with two games to go.
Frankfurt: Trapp - Tuta (Younes 64’), Hasebe (c), Hinteregger - Durm (Chandler 64’), Sow (Ilsanker 64’), Rode (Hrustic 29’), Kostic - Kamada (Zuber 71’) - Silva, Jovic
Unused subs: Schubert, Ache, Barkok, Willems
Out: Ache (hamstring), N'Dicka (suspended), Toure (pelvis)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Mainz: Zentner - St. Juste, Hack, Niakhate (c) - da Costa, Barreiro (Latza 89’), Kohr, Mwene - Quaison (Boetius 56’) - Burkardt (Öztunali 77’), Onisiwo (Glatzel 77’)
Unused subs: Dahmen, Stöger, Brosinski, Fernandes, Szalai
Out: Bell (suspended), Kilian (thigh)
Coach: Bo Svensson