An obstinate display from SV Darmstadt denied 1. FSV Mainz 05 the chance to end Matchday 25 in the top four as the pair played out a goalless draw on Sunday.
Red card: Donati (57')
Fresh from their midweek win over FC Bayern München, Mainz – already on a great run of form – were brim-full of confidence. Darmstadt attempted to knock them out of their stride, but the hosts’ inventive trio behind Jhon Cordoba still produced opportunities. Pablo De Blasis in particular was a threat, though it was more promise than end-product. He wasted the best opportunity of the half, blasting wide when played in by Jairo Samperio before subsequently heading a free-kick just past a post.
The matchwinner in Munich, Cordoba might have proven so again had his first touch to Yunus Malli’s inspired through ball been more assured early in the second half. Konstantin Rausch fired over Darmstadt's best chance just after the hosts' Giulio Donati had been dismissed, before Christian Mathenia blocked a deft De Blasis flick to help earn his side a point and leave Mainz a single marker outside the top four.
Man of the match
De Blasis always looked most likely to break the deadlock, either with a final pass or finishing touch. Only an alert Mathenia denied him the opener in the second half.
If Mainz miss out on the top four, they will surely look back on this game as the one that cost them a place in the UEFA Champions League.
- Darmstadt have now picked up just two points from their last five Bundesliga games.
- Donati’s dismissal was Mainz's first red card of the season.
- Mainz have lost just one of their last seven league games, winning five.
- Darmstadt’s Peter Niemeyer has now been booked 12 times this season, more than any other Bundesliga player.
Mainz: Karius - Donati, Balogun, Hack, Bussmann - Baumgartlinger, Frei (Bell 65’) - De Blasis (Brosinski 79’), Malli (Latza 71’), Jairo - Cordoba
Darmstadt: Mathenia - Jungwirth, Sulu, Rajkovic, Caldirola - Niemeyer, Gondorf – Kempe (Sirigu 90+1’), Heller, Rausch (Vrancic 72’) - Wagner