Mainz netted a dramatic winner two minutes from time to beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 and climb off the bottom of the league table, with their opponents now propping up the Bundesliga standings.
Mainz 2-1 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Quaison (40'), 1-1 Grujic (83'), 2-1 St Juste (88')
With the unwanted label of being the only professional club in Germany without a point to their name going into the match, Mainz started in determined fashion, snapping into tackles and forcing Hertha back. Pierre Kunde shot wide, before Daniel Brosinski and Danny Latza sent in powerful shots from distance to draw smart saves from Rune Jarstein. Kunde in particular was irrepressible in the first half and it was his strong run and cross that led to the opening goal, tapped in by Robin Quaison just before the break. Hertha had had their moments too, however, with Davie Selke striking the post and failing to beat Robin Zentner after a turnover in possession.
Zenter’s heroics then continued in the second half, as he saved brilliantly from Marko Grujic and twice thwarted Ondrej Duda, with Dodi Lukebakio also scooping a chance over the bar. The tide appeared to be turning in Hertha’s favour, with Mainz barely able to get out of their half. Ante Covic threw caution to the win by sending on Salomon Kalou and Javairo Dilrosun, and the second of those changes proved inspired as the Dutchman’s teasing cross was headed home powerfully by Grujic with seven minutes remaining. One might have expected Covic’s side to press on for the winner, but they were caught by a sucker-punch with two minutes left, as Jeremiah St. Juste leapt highest to glance a header into the corner. The Berliners, who had largely dominated the second period, were unable to respond once more and now have just one point from four games.
- Quaison has now ended a run of scoring in losses: his last four goals all came in defeats.
- Mainz have already twice lost after taking the lead this season. Last term this only happened to them once.
- They were the only professional club in Germany to have lost all four games before this match, a run they last endured back in 1994/95.
- Hertha skipper Niklas Stark made his 100th Bundesliga appearance for the club.
- Liverpool-owned Grujic had a hand in six goals for Hertha last term – his best return since his 2015/16 season with Red Star Belgrade.
- With three defeats since drawing with Bayern on Matchday 1, the Old Lady find themselves in the Bundesliga relegation zone for the first time since February 2015.
Mainz: Zentner - Brosinski, St. Juste, Niakhate, Martin - Kunde, Fernandes (Baku 67'), Latza (c) - Boetius - Szalai (Onisiwo 76'), Quaison
Unused subs: Dahmen, Pierre-Gabriel, Hack, Öztunali, Maxim, Awoniyi, Burkardt
Out: Bell (ankle), Ji (knee), Mateta (knee)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Hertha: Jarstein - Stark (c), Boyata (Dilrosun 80'), Torunarigha - Wolf, Grujic, Skjelbred, Plattenhardt - Duda (Löwen 69') - Lukebakio (Kalou 63'), Selke
Unused subs: Kraft, Rekik, Darida,, Klünter, Mittelstädt, Ibisevic
Out: Leckie (unconfirmed), Meier (knee), Pekarik (calf)
Coach: Ante Covic