Robin Quaison breathed new life into Mainz's bid to avoid relegation with a late goal in a 1-0 win at home to Freiburg.
Having drawn with Schalke and lost to Augsburg in their last two games, Mainz were all too aware of the need to pick up points again if they are to begin climbing away from the relegation zone. They duly began with ferocious intent, and Florian Müller had to be alert in the third minute to smother a chance for Jonathan Burkhardt. The Freiburg goalkeeper was called into action again in the 20th minute to keep out Adam Szalai’s shot on the turn, but there was nothing he could do about a thumping Danny da Costa effort from 25 yards that rattled his crossbar. Leandro Barreiro also had a header saved in what was largely a one-sided first half. Freiburg’s first glimpse of goal didn’t come until the 27th minute when Christian Günter volleyed over at the back post, but the Black Forest club could still have gone ahead before the break, but Roland Sallai struck the outside of the post when sent clean through on goal on the counter.
The Hungarian attacker also hit the frame of the goal in a more evenly balanced second half, curling a free-kick from just outside the box onto the top of the crossbar, while he later had a diving header at the back post saved by Robin Zentner. Mainz struggled to get behind the visiting defence as frequently as they had done in the first half, although Barreiro still tested Müller with a looping deflected shot from 25 yards that the Freiburg custodian was equal to. Mainz substitute Robert Glatzel should have opened the scoring shortly after coming on, but he blazed over when unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box. Günter almost won it single-handedly for the visitors late on, dribbling 60 yards before seeing his vicious left-footed shot poked around the post for a corner, but it was Quaison who had the final say, turning in from close range on the rebound to give the hosts three precious points.
- Jonathan Schmid overtook former Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery to become the French player with most Bundesliga appearances (274).
- Da Costa's shot off the crossbar was the 14th time Mainz have hit the woodwork this season.
- Quaison scored his third goal of the season, and first since Matchday 9. He now has 28 overall in the Bundesliga.
- This was 05ers' third clean sheet in 11 matches under Svensson, but they still have the second worst defence in the division behind Schalke (44 goals conceded).
- This was just Mainz's third home win of the season, all of which have come in 2021.
Watch: Schmid thanks Ribery for message of congratulations
Mainz: Zentner - St. Juste, Bell (Hack 72'), Niakhate (c) - da Costa (Brosinski 82'), Barreiro (Stöger 72'), Kohr, Mwene - Boetius - Szalai (Glatzel 58'), Burkardt (Quaison 72')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Öztunali, Kunde, Fernandes
Out: Onisiwo (thigh)
Coach: Bo Svensson
Freiburg: Müller - Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Heintz - Schmid, Höfler, Grifo (Santamaria 81'), Günter (c) - Sallai (Demirovic 72'), Höler (Petersen 81'), Jeong (Kwon 81')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Til, Kübler, Haberer
Out: Flekken (elbow), Keitel (groin), Tempelmann (ligament)
Coach: Christian Streich