St. Juste has the last laugh as Mainz down Hertha
Mainz claimed their first points of the season in a 2-1 home win against Hertha BSC.
Mainz 05 emerged victorious after a thrilling end at the OPEL ARENA. Jeremiah St. Juste headed in the winner in the 88th minute after Marko Grujic had initially equalised in the 83rd. Robin Quaison fired the Zerofivers in front in the first half.
Sandro Schwarz made six changes to the team that lost heavily in Munich before the international break. Robin Zentner stepped in for the injured Florian Müller, while Daniel Brosinski, Jeremiah St. Juste, Kunde Malong, Ádám Szalai and Robin Quaison all got the nod ahead of Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel, Alexander Hack, Ridle Baku, Jonathan Burkardt and Karim Onisiwo.
The visitors lined up in a 4-4-2 formation and started cautiously, allowing Mainz to control the opening phase of the game. Kunde Malong fired over a speculative effort from 20 yards, before Marco Grujic’s strike at the other end flew even higher over the crossbar. Davie Selke almost had Hertha in front, but his low-driven shot rattled the post (16’), Jarstein then saved spectacularly from a powerful Latza strike at the other end.
Brosinski almost broke the deadlock brilliantly, but met his match in the form of Rune Jarstein in the Hertha goal (26’). Selke passed up an even better opportunity to put the Berlin club ahead when he and Dodi Lukebakio found themselves two-on-one against Zentner, but the Mainz keeper held firm to keep the scores level.
The breakthrough finally came shortly before the break: Kunde dribbled down the and fired a low cross though the six-yard box, where Quaison was waiting for a simple tap-in.
Hertha increase pressure - Zentner on fine form
Hertha came out quicker in the second half, as they sought to drag their way back into the game. Zenter was called into action yet again – but not for the last time – to deny Selke. Duda was the next Hertha man to come unstuck against Mainz’s in-form keeper, before Lukebakio’s overhead attempt looped over the goal.
The visitors continue to pressure the home goal and finally got their equaliser late on: Dilrosun’s cross headed over the line by Grujic from close-range (83’). But the Zerofivers, pointless after three games this season, dug deep and refused to settle for just one point. Summer signing St. Juste met Brosinski’s corner with a well-placed header to re-establish the Mainz lead and send the home crowd wild (88’). Schwarz’s men showed the grit and determination to hold on in the final stages to see out the win and claim the first three points of the season.
Mainz are next in action on Friday evening (20:30) away at FC Schalke 04.