BERLIN – A Robin Quaison double gave Mainz a timely boost in their battle for Bundesliga survival with a first away win of the season with a 2-0 victory at Hertha Berlin on Friday.
Quaison’s brilliant individual goal just before the break and cool finish midway through the second period lifted Mainz six points clear of SV Hamburg in the second automatic relegation place.
They remain in the playoff spot, behind Werder Bremen on goal difference.
Midtable Hertha were unbeaten in four going into the game, but a lacklustre performance saw them miss the chance to close in on the race for Europe. They remain 11th, seven points above the bottom three.
League leaders Bayern Munich enter the weekend 18 points clear and travel to Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Mainz made the first chance after a low-key start, but home keeper Rune Jarstein did well to save from Emil Berggreen and later denied the same player’s attempt with a looping header.
In between Vedad Ibisevic, recalled for the hosts, went off with what the team said was a broken nose and was taken to hospital for treatment.
The deadlock was broken in the 40th minute when Quaison somehow shuffled away from four opponents and drilled a shot beyond Jarstein into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
“We have won an important game,” Quaison told Eurosport. “This is by the happiest day since I’ve been with Mainz.”
Hertha almost replied instantly, but Davie Selke, the replacement for Ibisevic, dragged his shot wide.
That was their only half-chance to level as they failed to threaten the visitors after the restart despite having more possession.
“It can’t be that we lose the tackles so easily,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. “That did not look good.”
Quaison made the points safe in 65 by taking a simple through ball and slotting his finish between the legs of Jarstein.
And Gerrit Holtmann should have made it three for Mainz late on, but slipped his shot wide of the post when a goal looked certain.