Having conceded eight goals in three competitive fixtures, Hertha head coach Jos Luhukay handed captain Fabian Lustenberger his first start since February and will have been delighted to see the alteration sure up the hosts' backline during the opening exchanges. Both sides had clearly prioritised keeping things tight as opposed to generating an attacking threat, with only Jens Hegeler going close courtesy of a half-hearted drive in the 23rd minute.
Shinji makes history
With deadline day signings Sami Allagui and Jonas Hofmann in their starting line-up, Kasper Hjulmand’s charges struggled to click into gear in the final third. Approaching half-time, however, the visitors adopted a less risk-averse approach and duly reaped the rewards when Okazaki broke the deadlock with a typical poachers’ finish to become the all-time leading Japanese scorer in Bundesliga history and send his side in at the break a goal to the good.
There were signs of life from the hosts after the restart with Julian Schieber dragging an early effort just wide. In truth though, Mainz were rarely troubled by Hertha’s attacking movements and extended their lead with 20 minutes left to play, Allagui tapping home at the end of a superb team move. Ronny reduced the arrears from the spot after Niko Bungert handled inside the area, but Okazaki was not to be denied his moment in the spotlight, bagging his brace in time added on to put the final nail in Hertha’s coffin.
Line-ups and statistics