Mainz - 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
Scoring his 14th goal of the season, Shinji Okazaki truely is a record breaker, check out the video on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: