Mainz took a huge step towards Bundesliga safety as they won 2-1 away at Hoffenheim, moving out of the automatic relegation zone and up to 15th.
It took less than 30 seconds for the game to spark to life when Robert Glatzel dispossessed Chris Richards on the edge of the Hoffenheim box and fired ruthlessly past Oliver Baumann. It set the tone for the opening stage as the Cardiff City-owned striker than forced the TSG goalkeeper into a strong save before Jerry St. Juste put a header wide at the ensuing corner, all inside four minutes. The home side should’ve had an equaliser with their first attack of note when Marco John squared for Ihlas Bebou, but the Togo international somehow put the ball over the bar from a matter of yards out. Mainz’s aggressive press was working well as they carved out chances, but Richards and Bebou combined to make amends as the American curled a long ball down the left, which the striker buried for his seventh of the season. Parity lasted only two minutes, though, as Dominik Kohr headed home his first Mainz goal from Jean-Paul Boetius’ cross after a short corner shortly before the break.
Baumann was again busy to start with, intercepting crosses and denying Boetius from close range, but it remained open at both ends. Andrej Kramaric had a quiet first half but was finally into the action when Bebou picked him out with a cross, but Hoffenheim’s all-time top scorer flicked his stooping header narrowly wide. In contrast to the opening 45 minutes, though, the second turned out to be much tighter. Substitute Robin Quaison twice had opportunities to wrap things up but had his efforts blocked and saved, while St. Juste again failed to get a telling touch on a corner. In the end, it didn't matter as Bo Svensson's side saw out the game to move out of the bottom two for the first time since Matchday 10. It's only the third matchday all season where they've ended it above the bottom three.
- Glatzel’s goal was clocked at 26 seconds, making it the seventh time Mainz have scored in the first minute of a Bundesliga game. However, it wasn’t the fastest in the league this season (VfB Stuttgart’s Orel Mangala after 24 seconds against Cologne on Matchday 5).
- It was the earliest Hoffenheim had conceded in the top flight, though.
- USA international Richards got his first assist for Hoffenheim. His only previous Bundesliga assist was for Robert Lewandowski in parent club Bayern Munich’s win over Hertha Berlin earlier in the season.
- Bebou’s seventh goal of the campaign saw him set a new personal best in the Bundesliga.
- Kohr became the 100th different goalscorer for Mainz in the Bundesliga. It was his first in the league since 9 September 2017, scoring against Mainz for Bayer Leverkusen.
- Baumann has shipped 39 goals in his 23 appearances against Mainz. Only Bayern (55) and Borussia Dortmund (47) have put more past the Hoffenheim No.1.
Watch: Glatzel: "We all play for each other"
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Vogt, Grillitsch, Richards (Rutter 76’) - Kaderabek, Rudy (Dabbur 64’), Samassekou (Posch 76’), John (Skov 64’) - Baumgartner - Bebou, Kramaric
Unused subs: Pentke, Sessegnon, Belfodil, Adamyan, Bogarde
Out: Akpoguma (match fitness), Bicakcic (knee), Geiger (hamstring), Hübner (ankle), Nordtveit (foot), Stafylidis (shoulder)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Mainz: Zentner - St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate (c) - da Costa (Brosinski 20’), Barreiro, Kohr, Mwene - Boetius (Stöger 82')- Glatzel (Onisiwo 64’), Burkardt (Quaison 64’)
Unused subs: Dahmen, Hack, Latza, Öztunali, Szalai
Coach: Bo Svensson