bundesliga.com rounds up Saturday's action...
1. FSV Mainz 05 2-0 1. FC Nürnberg
1. FSV Mainz strengthened their push for a place in the UEFA Europa League with a comfortable 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened 1. FC Nürnberg in Roger Prinzen’s first game in temporary charge of the Franconian club.
Nürnberg started the brighter of the two teams, forcing a number of corners in the opening minutes. They failed to fashion an opportunity of note, however, and were made to pay for their lack of cutting edge when Shinji Okazaki, scorer of Mainz’s two goals at Dortmund the previous week, broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, getting on the end of Johannes Geis’ free-kick to head home his 14th of the season - a record for a Japanese player. Things got worse for der Club just before the break when Christoph Moritz doubled the hosts’ lead with his second goal of the campaign.
Mainz continued to press for a third after the restart and were almost rewarded for their efforts when Yunus Malli found Maxim Choupo-Moting on the edge of the area. The Cameroon international’s effort was well-struck, but deflected out for a corner which came to nothing. Choupo-Moting spurned another opportunity moments later when he diverted Zdenek Pospech’s cross past Raphael Schäfer’s near post.
Aside from Hiroshi Kiyotake’s blocked effort 15 minutes from time, Nürnberg rarely threatened to get back into the game and Mainz held on comfortably to boost their hopes of a Europa League berth next season. Prinzen’s side, however, remain in deep trouble at the foot of the table and could be four points adrift of the relegation play-off place by Sunday evening if Hamburger SV win at FC Augsburg.
Line-ups and statistics
Hertha Berlin 2-0 Eintracht Braunschweig
Hertha Berlin recorded their first win in ten Bundesliga encounters with a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
The capital club spurned a glorious opportunity to take the lead after 27 minutes when Alexander Baumjohann capitalised on a mistake by Daniel Davari before fizzing a low ball across the six-yard box. Sami Allagui was first to the 27-year-old’s cross, but the Tunisian somehow managed to hit the ball against his standing leg allowing Braunschweig to clear the danger. Davari made up for his error just before the interval when he saved at the feet of Sandro Wagner to ensure the visitors went into the break on level terms.
Brooks opens the scoring
Domi Kumbela went close to giving the visitors the lead three minutes into the second half when he was played through by Karim Bellarabi, but Hertha keeper Thomas Kraft was out quickly to deny the Congolese international his tenth goal of the season. Kraft’s save proved crucial, as USA centre-back John Anthony Brooks bundled home the opening goal from inside the penalty area just after the hour mark.
The Berliners wrapped up the win 13 minutes from time when Allagui was on hand to sidefoot the ball past Davari after the Braunschweig stopper had saved substitute Adrian Ramos’ long-range shot with his legs. The result leaves the Lions two points adrift of 16th-placed Hamburger SV, who play tomorrow, while Hertha move level on points with 1899 Hoffenheim in ninth following their first home win in 2014.
Line-ups and statistics
1899 Hoffenheim 0-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
1899 Hoffenheim had to settle for their first goalless draw of the season and their first under head coach Markus Gisdol as they failed to make use of their numerous chances at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
The hosts boasted an enviable control during the opening exchanges as their short-passing game forced Eintracht to drop deep inside the own half in a bid to stave off the danger. Kevin Volland and Niklas Süle both went close with headed efforts inside the first 15 minutes, but having held firm against the hosts’ early pressure Frankfurt began finding their feet. However, with the pace of proceedings dwindling as the half wore on and the killer pass in the final third eluding both sides, chances were few and far between.
Late drama ends in bore draw
Approaching the end of an unremarkable first half, Jens Grahl did well to deny Alexander Madlung, but was fortunate that Martin Lanig failed to make better use of the loose ball inside the six-yard box. At the other end, Volland fired just wide to ensure the sides went in at the break with the deadlock still intact. Aside from Anthony Modeste firing straight at Kevin Trapp, there was little change to the pattern of proceedings after the restart as two of Germany’s most attacking sides continued to cancel each other out.
With both teams seemingly content to take their foot of the pedal, the chances failed to emerge at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena. Life was injected into the encounter, however, when Trapp felled Modeste inside the area before picking himself up to deny Firmino from the spot. The French striker then saw red moments later for lashing out after a challenge from Carlos Zambrano, forcing 1899 to hold on for a point and leaving them firmly entrenched in mid-table.
Line-ups and statistics