1. FSV Mainz 05 recorded just their second Bundesliga win in three months, and a first on the road since last February, thanks to two goals from Robin Quaison helped to beat Hertha BSC.
He gave them a deserved lead just before the break with a strike past Rune Jarstein, before placing the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs for the second 20 minutes into the second half.
The result puts Mainz back level on points with Werder Bremen in 15th, although they themselves remain in the bottom three.
Quaison gives Mainz well-earned lead
Hertha, normally so strong at home, had gone two months without a victory in the capital, but were coming off the back of an impressive 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Vedad Ibisevic came in for Arne Maier and David Selke. Mainz remained in the relegation play-off place following a 4-2 defeat at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, with under-pressure Sandro Schwarz recalling Stefan Bell, Gerrit Holtmann, Suat Serdar and Quaison for this match.
Peter Pekarík had an early chance, from a corner, blocked by Bell, but otherwise it was struggling Mainz who were having the better early opportunities on a pitch that had borne the brunt of the recent poor weather. Bell’s long ball was run onto by Emil Berggreen, whose shot was kept out at the near post by Jarstein. Another ball over the top, this time from Danny Latza, caught out Jordan Torunarigha, with Quaison nearly heading it over Jarstein, who was able to just keep the ball out.
Selke was forced into action early on after Ibisevic sustained a broken nose, and he had Hertha’s first clear cut opportunity, heading over from a Valentino Lazaro cross. Bell remained an attacking threat as he then headed just wide from a corner, whilst his fellow Mainz centre-back had some defending to do at the other end, taking advantage of a poor first touch from Lazaro after he was found by Vladimír Darida to put the ball clear.
Soon after that interception, his side would have a deserved lead. Quaison made it himself, evaded defenders as he looked for a spot to shoot from. He found his gap, striking through both Pekarík and Torunarigha to score the game’s opening goal. Selke had a scuffed shot wide after that, but Mainz remained in the lead at half-time.
Quaison puts seal on important victory
Mainz started strongly after half-time, with Quaison an ever-present danger to the home defence. They went over the top of the Hertha defence yet again, with Torunarigha struggling once more and Quaison shooting over. Latza then had a shot put wide by Jarstein. Hertha did then have a chance around the hour mark, with Lezcano putting a cross in towards Selke, but Alexander Hack made vital first contact with the ball.
The visitors then doubled their advantage in all-too-familiar fashion. This time it was Jean-Philippe Gbamin who took the aerial route, from his own half, with Quaison again having the chance to run at Jarstein. The keeper tried to stick a foot out to stop Quaison placing his shot past him, but instead he went through his legs to get his second of the match.
It could have been even better for Mainz when Holtmann had the chance to score after being played through in behind by Yoshinori Muto, who had replaced double goalscorer Quaison. He couldn’t show the same precision though, putting his shot wide.
Pál Dárdai had brought on Mitchell Weiser and Mathew Leckie as his side went hunting for a way back into the game, but chances were few and far between. Weiser did have a shot saved by the relatively-underemployed Robin Zentner, whilst Pekarík struck wide after Marvin Plattenhardt’s free-kick was headed to him by Bell.
That was the best they had to other though, and Mainz would leave Berlin as deserved winners, the first time they had won away since beating Leverkusen almost 12 months ago. After tensions threaten to boil over after the loss to Hoffenheim, the Mainz fans and players were able to celebrate as one at the end.