Mainz edge past Nurnberg
Mainz moved above defending champions Borussia Dortmund and into fifth position in the Bundesliga thanks to a 2-1 home win over Nurnberg on Friday night.
Goals from Nicolai Muller and Andreas Ivanschitz put Thomast Tuchel's side on the way to victory, but they invited Nurnberg back into the game and Per Nilsson gave Dieter Hecking's men hope before half-time.
The Bavarians pushed for an equaliser, but Mainz went closest to scoring a third as they held on to all three points.
Ivanschitz had earlier received criticism from his coach for not scoring enough and his ears were probably burning when he failed to hit the target from a good opening in the ninth minute.
Muller showed him how it should be done three minutes later as he gave the home side the lead.
The Mainz midfielder shook off his marker before threading a shot through Timm Klose and Patrick Rakovsky.
Ivanschitz followed his example to make it two in the 21st minute, this time showing the necessary composure to take the ball round Rakovsky and then dispatch it into the open goal.
Mainz were cruising, but they committed the cardinal sin of not looking for a third goal, instead attempting to sit on their lead.
That allowed Nurnberg to gain confidence, with two chances around the half-hour mark fuelling their belief.
Five minutes before half time, Hecking's side pulled a goal back with Nilsson meeting Hiroshi Kiyotake's free-kick with a well-placed header past Christian Wetklo.
Kiyotake was becoming increasingly dangerous with set pieces and also with a shot from open play which tested Wetklo.
Nurnberg continued to attack early in the second half until Mainz realised they had to change their tactics and return to the way they had played the first 20 minutes.
They went close to extending their lead in the 57th minute when Jan Kirchhoff's header hit the crossbar.
He had the ball in the back of the net 10 minutes later, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Instead of relief for the fans, it was a nailbiting conclusion, exacerbated by a lengthy spell of stoppage time added on at the end.
But the final whistle finally sounded to seal their fourth home win of the season, and the fourth away defeat in a row for Nurnberg.