Sebastian Prödl's (c.) last-gasp equalizer in the 1-1 draw at Schalke ensured Werder Bremen remain unbeaten in 2015
Sebastian Prödl's (c.) last-gasp equalizer in the 1-1 draw at Schalke ensured Werder Bremen remain unbeaten in 2015

Schalke and Hoffenheim held; Mainz prevail in derby

Cologne - SV Werder Bremen notched a dramatic late point at FC Schalke 04, while new coach Martin Schmidt enjoyed a successful debut in the 1. FSV Mainz 05 hot seat against Rhine-Main rivals Eintracht Frankfurt and Baden-Württemberg sides SC Freiburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim shared the spoils on Matchday 22.

FC Schalke 04 1-1 SV Werder Bremen rounds up the three Saturday afternoon encounters...

Second-half substitute Sebastian Prödl rescued SV Werder Bremen a dramatic late 1-1 draw away to FC Schalke 04.

The hosts looked the likely winners after Max Meyer had given them the lead just past the hour-mark, but Prödl scored late to extend Bremen’s unbeaten streak to six games.

Tight encounter

Hoping to bounce back from a defeat each in the Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League, Schalke started the game full of purpose, despite clear-cut chances proving few and far between at both ends at the Veltins Arena. It was Bremen who created the first opportunity, however, with leading scorer Franco Di Santo unlucky to see his crisp effort bounce off Joel Matip’s head and wide. Roman Neustädter could have broken the deadlock for Schalke shortly past the half-hour mark, curling wide from inside the area.

The midfielder was presented with another promising long-range opportunity minutes after the break, while at the other end set-piece specialist Zlatko Junuzovic’s free-kick sailed past the right post. Schalke upped the pressure as the game progressed, though, and Roberto Di Matteo’s men saw their dominance pay dividends a good hour into the match, Bremen No1 Wolf failing to keep Meyer’s effort from the edge of the box out. Werder didn’t give up though, throwing bodies forward in the dying stages in search of an equaliser, Prödl nodding Junuzovic’s pinpoint cross into the back of the net to draw the visitors level.

Line-ups and statistics

1. FSV Mainz 05 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Martin Schmidt enjoyed a winning start as 1. FSV Mainz 05 head coach as his charges beat local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 at the Coface Arena.

The hosts dominated throughout but had to come from behind to snatch all three points, with Christian Clemens, Johannes Geis and Yunus Malli all getting on the scoresheet after Stefan Aigner’s seventh goal of the season gave the visitors a 35th-minute lead. Carlos Zambrano’s late dismissal rounded off a thoroughly depressing Rhine-Main derby for the Eagles.

Quickfire double

With a sold-out Coface Arena urging them on, Mainz burst out of the blocks. Shinji Okazaki came closest in the openings stages, but after the hosts’ powerful start had faded, Eintracht began to threaten on the counter. Alex Meier failed to make the most of a clear-cut opportunity, but in-form Aigner converted unerringly from Haris Seferovic’s clever pass to give Frankfurt the lead. Within three minutes, however, Mainz were deservedly level after Okazaki unselfishly teed up Clemens for a tap-in.

A quickfire double from Mainz within five minutes of the restart then put the derby beyond Eintracht's reach. Geis’ 47th-minute free kick was too powerful for Kevin Trapp at his near post, and Malli increased the lead two minutes later, applying a calm finish to Pablo De Blasis’ low cross. Thereafter, Schmidt’s side had no trouble closing out the game, while Zambrano’s 83rd-minute dismissal completed a miserable afternoon for Frankfurt.

Line-ups and statistics

SC Freiburg 1-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

SC Freiburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim shared the Baden-Württemberg derby spoils with a 1-1 draw at the Schwarzwald-Stadion.

Immanuel Höhn’s maiden Bundesliga strike gave the hosts the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute, but Kevin Volland ended a run of six games without a goal shortly before the break to restore parity. Hoffenheim dominated the second half, with Volland and Anthony Modeste spurning the visitors’ best chances for a winner, despite Marc Torrejon seeing red late on.

Late pressure by Hoffenheim

With bragging rights at stake, hosts Freiburg and Hoffenheim began cagily. Visiting striker Modeste tested Roman Bürki from distance, but it was Freiburg who took the lead when Höhn gave the game the goal it needed by volleying home Jonathan Schmid’s set-piece. Going behind provoked a fierce response from Markus Gisdol’s side, with Roberto Firmino and Modeste both stinging Bürki’s palms before Volland’s brilliant left-footed effort brought parity seven minutes before the break.

Eugen Polanski and Modeste missed chances to give Hoffenheim the lead shortly after the restart, as Hoffenheim's organised defence denied Freiburg time and again. Only Darida from distance tested former Freiburg custodian Oliver Baumann but 1899 should have taken the lead when both Volland and Modeste wasted chances during a 70th-minute goalmouth scramble. Despite Torrejon's late red card, Freiburg held on unscathed for a precious point in the relegation scrap.

Line-ups and statistics