Frei volley rescues Mainz and denies Werder Bremen in pre-Christmas cracker

A sensational last-gasp goal from Mainz midfielder Fabian Frei denied Werder Bremen maximum returns and ensured the 05ers stayed out of the Bundesliga relegation zone at the expense of their distraught hosts who remain in the bottom three .

Werder Bremen 2-2 Mainz

Goals: 1-0 Bargfrede (2'), 2-0 Belfodil (17'), 2-1 Quaison (70'), Frei (90+3)

Seeking a third home Bundesliga win in a row, Werder hit the front early on when Philipp Bargfrede picked up possession in midfield, ran unchallenged towards goal and unleashed a shot from distance that flew in for what was the 28-year-old’s first goal of the campaign. Mainz were unbeaten in four previous visits to Bremen and they went close to equalising soon afterward, Levin Öztunali smashing an effort against the crossbar. The action continued unabated and soon after Florian Kainz saw his strike superbly saved by Mainz ‘keeper Robin Zentner, Ishak Belfodil looped in a header for 2-0.

Enduring their worst Bundesliga run since gaining promotion back in 2009, Sandro Schwarz’s side picked up the pace after the restart and, after dominating possession for large parts, found a reward via Quaison’s determined finish from Emil Berggreen’s assist. Werder’s determination to avoid their own worst-ever first-half to a Bundesliga held firm until the dying seconds, when Frei found space inside the hosts' area and provided the finish to send the visiting fans into ecstasy.

Match stats

    Werder scored twice in the first-half for the first time this season. Belfodil's goal was his first in the Bundesliga and came after his 17th shot.The River-Islanders' Thomas Delaney was involved in six of his team's eight shots in the first half.Mainz have only picked up one Bundesliga win in the last nine games. Bremen conceded their first home goal since coach Kohfeldt took charge.Mainz are unbeaten in their previous five visits to Werder (W2 D3).


Werder Bremen: Pavlenka - Bauer, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson - Bargfrede (Gondorf 65') – Gebre Selassie, M. Eggestein, Delaney, Kainz (Hajrovic 76') - Belfodil (Sane 90+2')
Subs: Drobny, Caldirola, Gondorf, Johannsson, Käuper, Hajrovic, Sane
Absentees: Zetterer (wrist), Bartels (Achilles), Kruse (match fitness)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt

Mainz: Zentner - Donati, Balogun (Berggreen 46'), Diallo, Brosinski - Frei - Latza (Maxim 71'), Öztunali – De Blasis, Holtmann – Muto (Quaison 60')
Subs: Huth, Quaison, Maxim, Berggreen, Fischer, Bussmann, Hack
Absentees: Adler (thigh), Gbamin (thigh), Kodro (thigh), Onisiwo (shoulder), Serdar (illness), Klement (ankle)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz

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