Hoffenheim missed out on a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League after losing 4-2 at Mainz in Julian Nagelsmann’s final game in charge of the club.
Mainz 4-2 Hoffenheim
Goals: 0-1 Belfodil (12'), 0-2 Kramaric (34'), 1-2 Brosinski (66'), 2-2 Boetius (83'), 3-2 Boetius (90'), 4-2 Mateta (90+3')
Red card: Baumgartner (41')
The visitors, who needed at least a point to stand any chance of securing a place in Europe in 2019/20, started brightly and went close to breaking the deadlock when Ishak Belfodil’s close-range shot was saved by Robin Zentner. There was little the Mainz custodian could do about Belfodil’s next effort, though, the Algerian forward cutting inside onto his right foot and curling a magnificent strike into the far corner to open the scoring. Hoffenheim continued to dominate proceedings as the half wore on and doubled their lead when Andrej Kramaric’s free-kick found the bottom corner, but the visitors ended the half with ten men after Christoph Baumgartner was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Zentner.
Hoffenheim’s numerical disadvantage began to take its toll in the second half as Mainz started to claw their way back into theme. Captain Daniel Brosinski reduced the arrears from the penalty spot after Florian Grillitsch had fouled Danny Latza inside the area, before Jean-Paul Boetius levelled matters with a clinical finish - minutes after having a goal ruled out by VAR. The hosts continued to push for a winner and took the lead in the final minute of normal time, Boetius firing low into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to send the home fans into raptures. Jean-Philippe Mateta put the seal on a remarkable comeback in stoppage time, drilling low past Oliver Baumann for his 14th league goal of the campaign.
- Hoffenheim have taken 191 points from their 116 Bundesliga matches since Nagelsmann took charge in February 2016. Only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have collected more points in that time.
- This was Hoffenheim's first defeat against Mainz under Nagelsmann (W4, D2).
- Hoffenheim top scorers Kramaric (17) and Belfodil (16) had not found the net in three matches prior to Saturday's encounter.
- Hoffenheim are the only Bundesliga club to have scored at least once in every away game this season.
- Mainz have scored all 24 of their penalties in the Bundesliga since May 2013, equalling VfL Bochum's top-flight record.
- All three of Boetius' league goals this season have come at the OPEL ARENA.
- Christoph Baumgartner was sent off on his full Bundesliga debut.
- Kerim Demirbay made his final appearance for Hoffenheim at the OPEL ARENA, while Niko Bungert played his final game in Mainz colours.
Mainz: Zentner – Brosinski (c), Bungert, Niakhate, Aaron – Kunde (Maxim 56') – Gbamin, Latza (Öztunali 81') – Boetius – Ujah (Onisiwo 56'), Mateta
Unused subs: Huth, Bell, Bussmann, Baku
Out: Mwene (knee), Quaison (ankle), Müller (hip), Hack (thigh), Donati (calf), Holtmann (hip)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Bicakcic, Vogt (c), Grillitsch – Brenet (Nelson 85'), Baumgartner, Schulz – Demirbay, Kramaric – Belfodil (Szalai 32'), Joelinton
Unused subs: Stolz, Rupp, Bittencourt, Adams, Posch
Out: Amiri (ankle), Geiger (groin), Hübner (back)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
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