Mainz claimed three huge points in the battle to avoid the drop on Sunday, beating European hopefuls RB Leipzig 2-0 at the Opel Arena on Sunday.
Mainz 3-0 Leipzig
Goals: 1-0 De Blasis (pen. 29'), 2-0 Maxim (85'), 3-0 Baku (90')
Red card: Keita 90'
The hosts desperately needed a win to keep a resurgent Hamburg at arm’s length and move out of the relegation play-off spot, but they rode their luck considerably in the opening stages. Leipzig dominated and missed two great opportunities inside ten minutes, with Yussuf Poulsen diverting Ademola Lookman’s cross wide and Timo Werner rounding the goalkeeper but seeing his shot cleared off the line.
The returning Naby Keita also fired a shot wide of the post, and the misses proved costly as Pablo De Blasis netted the opener from the spot after Yoshinori Muto was felled in the box. Mainz boss Sandro Schwarz had spoken before the match of converting the pressure on his team into energy, and in the second period his players executed that perfectly, barely giving Leipzig a moment to breathe.
The scrappiness of the second half suited the home side and the win was made certain when substitute Alexandru Maxim calmly finished off a fine move to make it 2-0 with five minutes to play. The icing on the cake was then provided by 20-year-old Bote Baku, who crowned an excellent Bundesliga debut with a fine finish to seal the perfect day for Mainz. The 05ers have now climbed above Wolfsburg and Freiburg into 14th, while Leipzig, who lost Keita to a second booking in injury time, remain sixth.
Mainz: Adler – Brosinski, Bell (c), Diallo, Hack – De Jong (Maxim 83'), Gbamin, Baku – Öztunali (Holtmann 71'), Muto, De Blasis (Onisiwo 89')
Unused substitutes Müller, Donati, Quaison, Maxim, Ujah
Absentees: Bungert (thigh), Balogun (rib), Serdar (knock), Berggreen (match fitness)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Leipzig: Gulacsi - Ilsanker, Orban (c), Upamecano, Klostermann - Kampl, Demme, Keita, Lookman (Bruma 64') - Poulsen (Augustin 64'), Werner
Unused substitutes: Mvogo, Konate, Bernardo, Schmitz, Kaiser
Absentees: Köhn (knee), Halstenberg (knee), Laimer (thigh), Sabitzer (shoulder), Forsberg (suspended)
Coach: Ralph Hasenhüttl
- Leipzig have set an unwanted club record by going five games without a win and have lost four of their last five in all competitions.Mainz avoided a club record of not scoring in a 13th Bundesliga match this season.Sandro Schwarz's men won a game on a Sunday at the 13th attempt.Pablo De Blasis made his 100th Bundesliga appearance. The Argentine winger has five goals this season, with four coming in the last four games.Since May 2013, Mainz have scored all 21 penalties they have been awarded. Only Bochum, between 1978 and 1982, boast a longer run of successful penalties (24).Leipzig's Willi Orban picked up a fifth yellow card and is suspended for Matchday 33's game with Wolfsburg.The game was Ralph Hasenhüttl's 100th as a Bundesliga coach. By a quirk of fate, he met Mainz in his first, winning 1-0 with Ingolstadt on 15 August 2015.