Goals from Robin Quaison, Jean-Paul Boëtius and Edmilson Fernandes sealed a 3-1 win for Mainz over Werder Bremen, whose own survival is now out of their hands.
Hoping to keep their Bundesliga survival hopes alive for another week, Werder Bremen flew out of the traps. It took a stunning one-handed save from Florian Müller to stop USA international Josh Sargent giving the visitors a fourth-minute lead. The 20-year-old striker was preferred in attack to Werder top-scorer Milot Rashica and his all-action start to the game set the tone for a first half full of all the energy you'd expect from two teams out to secure their Bundesliga futures. Ultimately, it was the hosts that struck first as Quaison bundled Mainz in front to move them within touching distance of guaranteeing a 12th consecutive season of top-flight football. The 05ers gave themselves further daylight with a second goal in the space of five first-half minutes as Boëtius fired home following captain Danny Latza's mazy run from midfield.
In need of a near miraculous second half turnaround, Werder almost made the perfect start but Niclas Füllkrug could only fire straight at the legs of Müller from 10 yards out. Just before the hour mark their persistence paid off as Yuya Osako found the net via the crossbar from Davy Klaassen's cutback. For all their efforts, though, Werder were unable to find the goal that would have given them a vital point, and Fernandes made sure of Mainz's victory late on. The result guarantees Mainz's survival, but – paired with Fortuna Düsseldorf's 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg – it means Werder remain 17th in the table, two points off Fortuna in the relegation playoff place. The four-time Bundesliga champions now go into the final day of the season with their fate in others' hands. Anything but a win over Cologne will result in their relegation, and victory may still not be enough to save them from playing Bundesliga 2 football next season.
- Following their 5-0 victory over Werder on Matchday 16, this win makes it the first time since 2013-14 that Mainz have done the double over Bremen in a single season.
- Quaison scored the first hat-trick of his professional career in that win in Bremen, and has hit six across as many meetings with the Green-Whites. The Sweden international's opener ended his nine-game run without a goal.
- Bremen have taken 22 of their 28 points on their travels, but this result ended their run of three consecutive away wins and a four-match unbeaten run on the road.
- Werder have been in the top flight for 39 consecutive seasons. They were last relegated to the second tier at the end of the 1979/80 campaign.
- Having previously gone 17 games without a goal, Osako now has two in his last three Bundesliga outings.
- Claudio Pizarro's late cameo takes the Peruvian to 489 Bundesliga appearances over the course of his remarkable career.
Watch: Moisander: "Everything is still open"
Mainz: Müller - Baku, St. Juste, Niakhate, Brosinski - Kunde (Fernandes 65'), Latza (c) (Barreiro 56') - Onisiwo (Hack 77'), Boetius, Quaison (Öztunali 46') - Mateta (Szalai 64')
Unused subs: Dahrem, Martin, Mwene, Burkardt
Out: Awoniyi (concussion), Zentner (knee)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer
Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic (Selke 85'), Moisander (c), Groß (Bartels 46') - Gebre Selassie (Augustinsson 44'), M. Eggestein, Klaassen, Friedl (Pizarro 82') - Bittencourt (Füllkrug 46'), Sargent, Osako
Unused subs: Kapino, Rashica, Langkamp, Bargfrede
Out: Möhwald (knee), Sahin (hip)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Watch: Boetius: "I have mixed feelings"