With chances running out to reduce the deficit on safety, this was a crucial game for Ingolstadt and they took to the field as if it were a final, needing just ten minutes to go in front. Romain Bregerie supplied the goal, heading in Markus Stuttner's corner. There was more conviction and bite in Ingolstadt's game and Mainz did not manage a shot on goal until the 37th minute.
Martin Schmidt clearly found the right words during the interval with his side emerging transformed for the second 45 minutes. Ingolstadt knew they were in a fight for the points when Levin Öztunali tested Martin Hansen, who allowed the Mainz midfielder's next effort, from a direct free-kick, through his legs to equalise. Florent Hadergjonaj restored Ingolstadt's lead almost immediately with Jonas Lössl left with egg on his face as the youngster's cross flew in to earn Ingolstadt a precious win.
Man of the match
Markus Suttner's corner provided their opening goal through Bregerie, but it was not only his set-piece prowess, which is reflected in Ingolstadt's overall danger from dead balls (see below), that made him the most dangerous player for the hosts.
Mainz's third defeat in a row has seen them sucked into a survival battle by a team who only had one result open to them in this fixture, and they obtained it to ensure they head to Augsburg in midweek still with some hope of staying up before hosting another struggler - Darmstadt - next weekend.
- Ingolstadt and Mainz both hold the record for the most number of goals from set-pieces, with Bregerie heading in the hosts' 14th of the season and Öztunali responding in kind.
- Only Leverkusen have conceded more goals from corners than Mainz (six).
- Florent Hadergjonaj scored his first Bundesliga goal with what will go down as his seventh shot.
Ingolstadt: Hansen - Matip (c), Roger, Bregerie - Hadergjonaj, Cohen, Morales, Suttner (84' Tisserand) - Groß, Lezcano (89' Hinterseer), Leckie (76' Kittel)
Coach: Maik Walpurgis
Mainz: Lössl – Balogun (46' Donati), Bell (c), Bungert (67' Serdar), Brosinski - Ramalho, Gbamin - Öztunali, Latza (80' Quaison), de Blasis - Cordoba
Coach: Martin Schmidt