Per Nilsson got the home side off to the perfect start just five minutes in, and they largely had the better of proceedings thereafter, but Shinji Okazaki struck a 75th-minute equaliser for Mainz, who then almost went on to win it - as well as having substitute Petar Sliskovic sent off at the death. The result leaves Nürnberg on nine points, all earned from draws, and one ahead of Braunschweig at the foot of the standings, with the latter playing on Sunday.
Nilsson with the early breakthrough
The hosts really hit the ground running, Hiroshi Kiyotake shrugging off two Mainz defenders before clipping a delicate cross back from the goalline for Nilsson to power home a header that took a slight deflection off Zdenek Pospech on its way into the net. The goalscorer was then almost immediately in action at the other end, foiling Nicolai Müller as the FSV forward bore down on home keeper Raphael Schäfer.
Most of the early traffic continued to head in the direction of the away goal however and Loris Karius - retained between the posts by Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel despite nominal No1 Christian Wetklo being available again following suspension - did well to thwart Adam Hlousek just past the 20-minute mark. Not long after that, Okazaki had Mainz's best chance of the half, a shot on the turn that Schäfer managed to scramble away. The Japan international then went even closer from the resultant corner, flashing a header inches wide.
Okazaki to the rescue
After that, Nürnberg once again took a grip of proceedings and Pospech had to be on his toes to prevent Josip Drmic getting a clear sight of goal from Hiroshi Kiyotake's through-ball five minutes before the interval. The final chance of the half fell to the man who scored with the first, Nilsson seeing his header to a Kiyotake corner tipped over the bar by Karius.
The hosts picked up where they had left off after the restart and Drmic's next chance from a Kiyotake pass was cleared just in the nick of time by FSV central defender Stefan Bell. Okazaki was the saviour from the resultant corner as Nilsson's aerial prowess yet again caused the visitors no end of problems.
Late chances for Mainz
With Mainz still struggling to get any cohesion into their forward game, yet another incisive Kiyotake pass sent Daniel Ginczek away with 20 minutes to go, but the Germany U-21 striker was ruled fractionally offside. Then, with quarter of an hour to go and almost out of the blue, the visitors pulled level. Joo Ho Park slipped a clever ball into the channel between Nilsson and Emanuel Pogatetz and Okazaki took full and swift advantage, drilling his finish past Schäfer and into the back of the net.
The home fans urged their team on for a final assault, but it was the visitors who came closest to deciding it in their favour as the clock ticked down. Maxim Choupo-Moting passed up the chance to do so one-on-one against Schäfer and 78th-minute sub Sliskovic just failed to connect with a Junior Diaz cross - before picking up a straight red card for a dangerous foul on Schäfer in the 90th minute.
Line-ups and statistics