Behind substitute Robert Glatzel's first ever Bundesliga goal, the Rheinhessen completed a most improbable last-minute comeback at the BayArena to draw Leverkusen 2-2.
Dortmund and Hertha also came from behind on what proved "the day of the draw" on which four Bundesliga fixtures finished without a winner.
|Robert Glatzel.||Photo: Northside, CC BY-SA 3.0|
A comeback seemed impossible after Patrik Schick put Germany's red company team up 2-0 in the 84th minute. The result appeared to have been more than settled as second-half injury time closed in. Out of nowhere, newly-acquired striker Robert Glatzel tore through the Leverkusen defensive ranks totally unmarked.
The German international who "burns for the Bundesliga" latched onto a Moussa Niakhaté chip ball and pulled one back in the 89th minute. Kevin Stöger put a failed Sven Bender clearance past backup keeper Niklas Lomb less than three minutes later to complete the dramatic comeback.
One gave the underdog Mainzer XI few chances of taking much from this game, particularly after Moussa Diaby made a mockery out of the visiting team's defensive ranks with a slick deke and a scorching run before setting up Lucas Alario's opening goal in the 14th.
Bo Svensson's Nullfünfter managed a quick chance moments later. Karim Onisiwo struck the post in the 16th. After that chance, however, the Pfälzer defence truly began to wobble. Diaby, Leon Bailey. and Kerem Demirbay all got good efforts off before the first-half came to a close. Niakhaté cleared a ball off the line in the 40th.
Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky had to subbed off at the half after incurring a heel injury. Backup Lomb preserved his team's lead with some fantastic acrobatics in the 53rd, but also made a grave passing error that nearly led to a goal in the 55th. Lomb recovered to make another strong save on Onisiwo in the 65th.
Each side had a goal disallowed because of handballs in the lead up action before substitute Schick beat defender Stefan Bell and then keeper Robin Zentner slickly in the 84th to double the advantage. Fellow sub Demarai Gray assisted on the play and anyone covering the match prepared to laud Leverksuen's "jokers".
It would nevertheless be Mainz's "jokers" who proved the real story of the game. Glatzel scored his first Bundesliga goal on only his second appearance in the top flight. Stöger scored his second goal off the bench this season.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 Kickoffs, a superb late solo tally from Erling Haaland rescued a very defensively disjointed Dortmund squad from what looked to be certain defeat against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Edin Terzic's men managed to split the difference with the Sinsheimers 2-2.
Hertha BSC also came back to draw Stuttgart courtesy of an 82nd minute equaliser. The subbed on Sami Khedira linked up with fellow substitute Luca Netz to produce the 1-1 draw. Freiburg and Bremen shared the spoils in a goalless draw.