Mainz end season with emphatic win
The Zerofivers completed a comeback from 2-0 down to finish in twelfth
A fast a furious end to the season: Mainz 05 came back to beat TSG Hoffenheim 4-2 at home on the final matchday. Ishak Belfodil and Andrej Kramaric scored in the first half, but goals from Daniel Brosinski (66’, penalty), Jean-Paul Boëtius (83’, 90’), and Jean-Philippe Mateta (90’+3) saw the Zerofivers come back to win it.
Captain Niko Bungert got the start in the final game of his career to replace an injured Alexander Hack. Robin Zentner replaced an injured Flo Müller, as head coach Sandro Schwarz made just two changes to the squad that had completed the derby win against Frankfurt.
The Zerofivers had the first chance on the counter after Gbamin won the ball and played it to Latza, who set up Mateta for a shot that Oliver Baumann kept out (6’). Two minutes later, the guests looked dangerous for the first time. Nico Schultz set up Ishak Belfodil with an excellent cross, but even better was Zentner’s save (8’). Mateta had another chance on a pass from Anthony Ujah, but put the ball wide from an angle (10’). But, the guests were able to take the lead shortly after with their next chance. Kerem Demirbay set up Belfodil, who left Zentner with no chance as he curled it into the top corner (12’). Mainz took the blow in stride and continued to push forward. Baumann made a quick save to keep out Mateta’s shot in the 19th minute. Shortly after, Pierre Kunde was unlucky to see his shot deflected just wide (21’).
The Zerofivers were strong in the first half, but were unable to use their chances. Hoffenheim were given a freekick just outside the box that Andrej Kramaric placed just over the wall to make it 2-0 (34’). Mainz reacted quickly and nearly got one back on the next chance. A cross from Brosinski landed with Latza, who headed it just wide (36’). Shortly after, Brosinski placed a ball into the path of Mateta, but his shot went straight at Baumann (37’) in what would be the last chance of the half. Just before the whistle, Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a challenge against Zentner (42’).
A bit of luck, then a furious attack
The Zerofivers started the second half with a bit of luck, as Moussa Niakhaté blocked a shot from Kramaric that would have certainly made it 3-0 (50’). Following that, the Zerofivers took clear control of the match, with chance after chance. Baumann held Kunde’s shot (52’), before Mateta sent a header just wide of the net (56’). Baumann then stepped up again to keep out a shot from Latza (57’). Maxim, who was subbed on for Ujah, fired a shot just wide of the post (59’). A solo attempt from Aarón two minutes later wasn’t enough to beat Baumann (61’). In the 64th minute, referee Deniz Aytekin let play continue after Danny Latza was brought down in the box following a tackle from Florian Grillitsch. VAR came into play and Aytekin pointed to the spot after all after reviewing the challenge. Brosinski stepped up to take it and kept his cool, converting the penalty to make it 2-1 (66’). After going a man down, Hoffenheim were seldomly seen on offence, except for a chance from distance by Adam Szalai that sailed high over the net (67’).
The rest of the game took place mainly in the Hoffenheim half, but Zentner still had to stretch to make a save on a shot from Florian Grillitsch (73’). Two minutes later, it was pandemonium in the OPEL ARENA—at least, for two minutes. Maxim played it through to Boëtius, who put it in from 10 meters out. But, after VAR review the goal was disallowed due to a handball from Boëtius prior to the shot (75’). Mainz needed a few minutes to process this decision, but then it was Boëtius once again who scored to make it 2-2. This time, his shot from distance was good (83'). Hoffenheim put all the efforts into their attack, needing a win in order to qualify for the Europa League. Zentner made another save after a freekick from Kramaric (88’). The Zerofivers were hungry for the win and kept creating chances for themselves. Baumann made a quick save off a backheel shot from Bungert, but was helpless against Boëtius just seconds later. From 20 meters out, he slotted it home to make it 3-2 (88’). Six minutes of extra time followed, with Mainz adding another goal. Onisiwo crossed it through to Mateta who made no mistake putting it home. The Zerofivers ended their tenth Bundesliga season with 43 points, finishing in 12th place.