Mainz - 1. FSV Mainz 05 remain hot on the heels of the European places after cruising to a 3-0 win over SV Werder Bremen at the Coface Arena.
Mainz take charge
Nils Petersen's own goal was the prelude to a miserable afternoon for Robin Dutt's men, who never once looked like recovering from further first-half efforts as Christoph Moritz and the exceptional Yunus Malli got on the scoresheet.
Apart from champions FC Bayern München, Bremen had lost more times against Mainz than any other side in the Bundesliga and there was no sign that ignominious record was about to change on Matchday 30. Santiago Garcia did really well to put Maxim Choupo-Moting's hanging cross out for a corner, but could do nothing to prevent Petersen from swiping the ensuing set-piece into the net to give the 05ers a fifth-minute lead.
It got better still for Thomas Tuchel's top-six hopefuls ten minutes later when Bremen failed to deal with Zdenek Pospech's audacious long ball up from the back. Mortiz pounced on Sebastian Prödl's half-hearted clearance, before smashing in his first goal in Mainz colours with aplomb. Bremen had been shaken to the core, but almost pulled one back through Prödl, whose goal-bound header was hoofed off the line by Shinji Okazaki.
Malli on cue
Normal service was resumed soon enough, with Bremen spending the next 18 minutes or so hemmed inside their own half as Mainz turned the screw. Okazaki and Choupo-Moting rattled off a handful of warning shots, before Malli collected yet another fine ball from Pospech and smashed beyond the advancing Raphael Wolf to give his side a richly-deserved 3-0 lead.
The 22-year-old goalscorer was in the thick of things immediately after the restart, twice going close to his second of the afternoon following great work from Mainz's electric frontline. Bremen were at sixes and sevens and, when Okazaki squeezed a cute ball through for the omnipresent Malli, looked mightily relieved to see the foot of the post come to Wolf's rescue shortly before the hour-mark.
Saved by the post
The woodwork spared Bremen further embarrassment in the 66th minute, again denying the irrepressible Malli, before Choupo-Moting had a goal rightly ruled out for offside. On the rare occasion Bremen did break clear, Eljero Elia found himself played onside by a static Mainz back four, but was unable to steer the bouncing ball past the spread-eagled Loris Karius from close range.
That effort aside, Bremen could hardly have had complaints about the complexion of the contest. Mainz were a class apart on the day and almost notched what would have been a deserved fourth late on when Malli raced through, only to be denied by the linesman's flag.
Line-ups and statistics
Watch Nils Petersen's unfortunate own goal on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: