Max Grün's goal led a charmed existence at times, before Felix Klaus netted a milestone strike for the Bundesliga newcomers in the 67th minute.
Fürth coach Mike Büskens opted for a more defensive set-up following the 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Matchday 1, with Milorad Pekovic preferred to Sebastian Tyrala in the holding midfield role. It was a ploy that worked well early on as Mainz were forced to play almost exclusively in front of the Fürth back four.
The home side, however, were perhaps guilty of being a little complacent against the Bundesliga new boys, who created the game's first real opening twelve minutes in - but Baye Djiby Fall could only slide Sercan Sararer's deflected cross-shot wide. The look on Büskens' face said it all, and his troops very nearly paid the price for that miss as Adam Szalai combined with Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting to force a superb reaction save from Grün two minutes later.
A golden chance fell the way of Choupo-Moting after 20 minutes, but the livewire forward - a constant thorn in the side of the Fürth defence - could only curl a shot into the side netting after rounding the keeper. It seemed the only way to stop Choupo-Moting was to resort to desperate tactics, and Pekovic saw a yellow card for a late challenge on the Cameroonian in the 26th minute.
Heinrich Schmidtgal followed his team-mate into the book six minutes later before Andreas Ivanschitz fired the ensuing free kick straight at Grün from the edge of the area. Nicolai Müller was becoming more of a threat on the right-hand side as the half wore on and he won a 37th-minute corner that Niko Bungert unwittingly very nearly bundled in from close range.
Clover Leaf Klaus
The second half followed a similar pattern to that of the first with Choupo-Moting heading over from Müller in the 51st minute. Fürth gave as good as they got - using the right-hand side to good effect as Sararer almost got the all-important touch on Klaus' inviting low cross a minute later. Fall was forced off after landing awkwardly on his shoulder in the 64th minute - Büskens using the opportunity to freshen his charges with 25 minutes left on the clock.
Then came the moment that will live long in the memory of the Fürth faithful as substitute Ilir Azemi teed up Klaus to send a dipping left-footed strike over the unsighted Christian Wetklo for the Clover Leaves' first-ever Bundesliga goal in the 67th minute. Mainz were forced to come out of their shell, but Choupo-Moting was having no luck in front of goal - curling wide after 76 minutes.
Caution to the wind
The 05ers threw caution to the wind in search of the equaliser, but found Grün in inspired form between the sticks - the Fürth stopper swatting away Noveski's close-range header in the 82nd minute and gobbling up from Marcel Risse and Choupo-Moting in the dying stages to preserve an historic victory for the Bavarians.
Line-ups and statistics.