- Goalless draw means Mainz finish sixth, one place ahead of Hertha.
- Kalou passes up the game's best chances.
- Hertha finish in top half for first time in seven years.
1. FSV Mainz 05 held off Hertha Berlin in a goalless draw on Saturday that means they pip the capital club to a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
Karim Onisiwo's shot and Rune Jarstein's strong-arm save suggested the hosts had clear intentions of claiming the win that would see them finish fifth for only the second time in the club's history. Hertha had the better of the first-half opportunities, however. Gaëtan Bussmann's last-ditch clearance denied Valentin Stocker the opening goal, while Salomon Kalou passed up two good opportunities to break the deadlock before the break. The Cote d'Ivoire international may feel he should have done more with the first of them than shoot weakly goalwards after latching onto a short backpass that had left Mainz 'keeper Loris Karius in no-man's land.
There was no end-of-season lethargy to the second half either, though clear-cut opportunities were less forthcoming. Mainz had the only chance of note, but Jhon Cordoba will be disappointed he sent his header wide from an in-swinging free-kick that deserved a better finish. Genki Haraguchi may have said something similar to Kalou after the Japan international's dribble teed up his team-mate late on, but the former Chelsea FC forward dallied just long enough for Karius to smother.
Man of the match
Vladimir Darida has been a driving force behind Hertha's successful campaign. The Czech international was again his team's top performer.
Hertha finished the season with a whimper. How will the club from the capital reinforce their squad in the summer to bolster their domestic and European challenge?
- Mainz finish sixth to qualify automatically for the UEFA Europa League group stage.
- Hertha end seventh, and go into the third qualifying round of the competition.
- Mainz have now only beaten Hertha once in eight home games, and have never scored a first-half goal against them.
- Hertha end the season with just two points from their last seven matches.
Mainz: Karius - Donati, Bell, Bungert, Bussmann - Baumgartlinger, Frei - Clemens (Jairo 88'), Malli (Serdar 85'), Onisiwo - Cordoba (Soto 90+6')
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Hertha: Jarstein – Pekarik (Haraguchi 76'), Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt – Lustenberger, Stark – Weiser, Darida, Stocker (Schieber 82') – Kalou
Coach: Pal Dardai