Wolfsburg went into the game having only won one of their previous four encounters, but began the action-packed first half confidently. Their intention to play it out from the back, however, cost them dearly, when Niki Zimling picked up a sloppy pass from goalkeeper Diego Benaglio to strike his first Bundesliga goal in only his second appearance.
The Wolves' reply was not long in coming, as defender Naldo headed in from Jan Polak's cross for his fourth goal in the current campaign, moments after missing two good chances. The guests' dominance, however, was interrupted after half an hour when Alexander Madlung was red-carded.
Szalai squanders twice
The second half was somewhat flat compared to the opening 45 minutes. Mainz dictatded the proceedings, yet lacked creativity against a Wolfsburg side always looking dangerous on the break.
Mainz's leading goalscorer Adam Szalai should have done better when presented with two of the very few opportunities, but the Hungarian international failed on both occasions with only Benaglio to beat, as the home side's late efforts came to no further avail.
Line-ups and statistics