With heart and passion, FC Schalke 04 fought for their second away win of the season at the last minute and put the competition under pressure in the relegation battle. Thanks to the dramatic 3-2 (1-0) win at FSV Mainz 05 at the start of Matchday 31, coach Thomas Reis' team left a relegation place with 30 points and improved to 14th place in the table, at least for one night. However, rivals TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (29), VfB Stuttgart and VfL Bochum (both 28) can pass again on Saturday.
In front of 33,305 spectators in the sold-out Mainz Arena, Marius Bülter scored in the 26th minute and in the twelfth minute of injury time from a foul penalty and Tom Krauß (60th) for the newly promoted team, who had previously only managed to win away from home in a 2-0 win in Bochum at the beginning of March. For Mainz, who equalised twice through Leandro Barreiro (53') and Aaron (70'), the second defeat in a row meant a bitter setback in the fight for an international starting place.
Right from the start, there was fire in the fast-paced game. Both teams were immediately up to operating temperature and were looking for a way forward. Driven by around 10,000 fans, the visitors had the first promising offensive actions, but initially lacked the necessary precision near the penalty area.
The first chance was therefore recorded by the home side, who showed themselves well recovered from the recent 0-3 defeat in Wolfsburg and the end of their winning streak of ten games without defeat. Karim Onisiwo pulled off from distance after 20 minutes, but Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow fished the ball out of the corner.
A little later, the Royal Blues cheered. Bülter put his opponent Andreas Hanche-Olsen on the left side with an overshoot and overcame 05 goalkeeper Robin Zentner with a placed low shot into the far corner.
Schalke chance usury
The goal left an effect on the Rheinhessen, who struggled in the build-up to the game and had some wobbles in the defense. After 35 minutes, Kenan Karaman made it 2-0 for Schalke, but he hit the far right post from a central position. Shortly before the break, Simon Terodde failed to beat Zentner from an acute angle.
Schalke's usury of chances continued after the change, when Bülter (51st) ran alone towards Zentner, but could not overcome the Mainz keeper. That took its revenge just 120 seconds later. Following a corner, Hanche-Olsen headed the ball towards the Schalke goal, where Barreiro finished free-standing from close range.
The equaliser changed the game for a short time. Now the Mainz were on the trigger and missed the possible lead with chances for Dominik Kohr and Ludovic Ajorque, which the guests managed again in the middle of the Mainz pressure phase. Krauss finished off a counterattack with a beautiful low shot into the far corner. But again, the hosts had an answer ready. Aaron hammered a direct free-kick into the net and seemed to have destroyed Schalke's dreams of victory. But thanks to the foul penalty after video evidence in the final phase, Schalke were still able to cheer loudly for the away victory.