Eintracht Frankfurt put an end to a run of three straight losses as they clinched a 2-1 victory in the Rhine-Main derby against top-four hopefuls 1. FSV Mainz 05.
With Frankfurt battling the drop and Mainz still vying for a top-four finish, neither side made a tentative start to proceedings. Both teams pushed for an early opener, but it was Daniel Brosinski who delivered, curling a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards. Frankfurt managed to restore parity before the break, though, when Marco Russ capitalised on confusion in the Mainz box to put the finishing touches on Änis Ben-Hatira’s square ball.
The first half was a hard-fought battle throughout and the encounter continued in the same vein after the restart. Chances remained at a premium as a result, with Ben-Hatira wasting a gilt-edged opportunity, while Jhon Cordoba failed to get the better of Lukas Hradecky one-on-one.
Frankfurt were investing more in the game and would have taken the lead through Haris Seferovic were it not for an outstanding save from Loris Karius. However, there was nothing the Mainz No1 could do about the winning goal as Ben-Hatira found a pocket of space before seeing his deflected effort loop into the far corner.
Man of the match
Ben-Hatira is making a habit of scoring crucial goals for the Eagles. The winger was the match-winner against Hannover 96 on Matchday 27 and, though there was a huge element of luck in his goal against Mainz, they all count. Potentially even double for Frankfurt in their current situation.
Aesthetically pleasing it was not, but Frankfurt did what they had to do to grind out what could prove to be a pivotal victory in their bid to beat the drop. The win moves them to within four points of safety with SV Darmstadt 98 and SV Werder Bremen still to play.
- The last time Brosinski scored in the Bundesliga was back in February 2009 when 1. FC Köln beat FC Bayern München 2-1.
- Russ became the first Frankfurt defender to score this season. All other top-flight sides had at least one goal scored by a member of their backline.
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Regäsel, Russ (c), Abraham (Zambrano 87’), Oczipka - Huszti, Hasebe - Aigner (Kittel 25’), Gacinovic (Castaignos 75’), Ben-Hatira - Seferovic
Coach: Niko Kovac
Mainz: Karius - Brosinski, Balogun, Bell, Donati - Serdar (Frei 73’), Baumgartlinger (c) - Jairo, Malli (Clemens 63’), De Blasis - Cordoba (Onisiwo 77’)
Coach: Martin Schmidt