Mainz snapped a five-game losing streak to ease their relegation fears and add to Hertha Berlin’s woes on the road.
Mainz 1-0 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Latza (45+1’)
Two teams low on confidence played out a cagey opening but Danny Latza’s swerving shot from distance brought the game to life midway through the half. Hertha keeper Rune Jarstein pushed that effort behind but Giulio Donati and Jairo Samperio’s trickery down the right kept the visitors' goal under threat. Jhon Cordoba and Stefan Bell headed over from Jairo’s cross and a left-wing corner respectively before the 05ers finally made the breakthrough in first-half stoppage time. Jarstein punched another corner clear but only as far as Latza on the edge of the area. The midfielder fired the ball towards a crowd of bodies and his shot came off the head of Hertha defender John Anthony Brooks and flew into the corner.
Hertha briefly threatened a fightback with a sprightly start to the second half and Salomon Kalou latched onto a long ball to get himself inside the area. But Mainz keeper Jannik Huth was off his line quickly to close down the angle and make his first real save of the game. Jairo fired just over before Alexander Esswein drew a smart stop from Huth with a shot from the corner of the area. Sami Allagui also drilled over but Mainz always looked more likely to score another and Leon Balogun forced another good save from Jarstein late on as the 05ers finished strongly.
Man of the Match
Danny Latza covered more ground than anyone else (12.57 kilometres), completed more passes (49) and had two of their 17 attempts on goal. One of them brought the best out of Jarstein and the second resulted in the only goal of the game.
This was a much-needed win for Mainz, especially when you consider who they will face in the final four weeks. The 05ers played with spirit, drive and plenty of hunger. With Bayern Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt to come, they will need to use this performance as a benchmark if they are to continue moving in the right direction.
- Mainz kept a clean sheet for the first time in seven games. Hertha lost for the eighth time in a row on the road. Collectively the 05ers ran over four kilometres (114.9) more than the visitors (110.5).
Mainz: Huth - Donati (Balogun 79'), Bell, Hack, Brosinski - Quaison (Onisiwo 78'), Frei, Latza, Samperio - Cordoba (De Blasis 85'), Muto.
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Haraguchi (Esswein 60'), Skjelbred, Allan, Mittelstädt (Allagui 60') - Ibisevic, Kalou.
Coach: Pal Dardai