Frankfurt - Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FSV Mainz 05 played out a pulsating 2-2 draw in Matchday 5's Rhine-Main derby, with the visitors' Shinji Okazaki continuing his excellent goalscoring form.
It looked as if Eintracht's initial wastefulness might have cost them as they fell behind to goals from Jonas Hofmann and the effervescent Okazaki, but a late first-half strike from Alexander Meier and a header from Haris Seferovic rescued a point for the Eagles.
The hosts were by far the better team in the opening stages, Seferovic capitalising on a Daniel Brosinski mistake but finding only the side-netting, and Takashi Inui, who was a bright spark throughout for Eintracht, having two bites of the cherry in the penalty area. His first shot was well saved but when the follow-up fell at his feet, he snatched at the opportunity and fired harmlessly over the bar.
The match then settled into more of a midfield battle, with neither side able to seize the initiative. Just as it looked like we might be heading into the break goalless, though, the game sparked to life with three rapid-fire strikes. Perhaps a little surprisingly it was the visitors who went ahead, a fine Brosinski through ball on 41 minutes springing the Eintracht offside trap to find Hofmann racing through. The midfielder, on loan from Borussia Dortmund, kept his cool in the face of the onrushing Kevin Trapp and stroked the ball home from the edge of the area.
Mainz weren't done there, however. Barely three minutes later Marco Russ was caught under a long pass with Okazaki lurking. The Japanese international nicked the ball off the veteran defender and had the pace to race clear, finishing cleverly with the outside of his boot to take his season's tally to five in five appearances, and his overall haul in Germany's top flight to 30.
Thomas Schaaf's team looked shell-shocked, but incredibly they found a route back into the game just 60 seconds later. With the Mainz back line snoozing, Japan captain Makoto Hasebe collected a pass in midfield and slipped in Meier, the burly forward making no mistake by slotting a cool finish past Loris Karius in the visiting goal.
The match continued at a frenetic pace in the second period, with both teams unwilling to give an inch in this feisty derby. This perhaps suited Mainz better as chances became harder to come by, and with less than ten minutes remaining on the clock they perhaps thought they were close to a win having taken the sting out of the game since the interval.
However, substitute Marc Stendera, a constant threat from set plays, sent a well flighted free-kick into the area from deep and an unmarked Seferovic was able to guide a looping header back across goal into the corner. The home side might even have won it had Stefan Aigner not blazed horribly off target in stoppage time, but a draw was just about a fair result after an entertaining clash.
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