Mainz 05 made it three Bundesliga wins on the bounce after clinching a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Schalke 04 at Coface Arena on Friday night.
The home side went into the half-time break with a narrow lead thanks to Gaëtan Bussmann’s 33rd-minute goal, but Schalke 04 hit back shortly after the restart, with Younes Belhanda netting the all-important goal.
However, it was Julian Baumgartlinger who had the last say, popping up in the 79th minute to head home the winning goal.
The hosts started brightly and went close to claiming the lead after just six minutes of play, Jhon Córdoba seeing his shot from a tight angle saved by Ralf Fährmann in the Schalke 04 goal.
Schalke hit back with a noteworthy chance of their own six minutes later but Mainz 05 keeper Loris Karius was alert to the danger, getting down well to keep out Leon Goretzka’s long-range effort.
However, it was Mainz 05 who broke the deadlock on 33 minutes, with Bussmann slotting a right-footed effort into the bottom-right corner from outside the box following a well worked corner.
That was the last real chance of the first half as Mainz 05 held firm in the remaining minutes to go into the half-time break with a slender advantage.
Having produced a somewhat lacklustre first-half showing, Schalke 04 came flying out of the traps after the break and drew level after just one minute of play, Belhanda firing into the bottom-right corner after collecting a pass from Max Meyer.
Mainz 05 had a glorious opportunity to draw level in the 54th minute, but Christian Clemens’ header from the centre of the box was saved with relative ease by Fährmann.
Following a brief lull in play, Mainz eked out another chance in the 71st minute. However, Jairo Samperio failed to make the chance count, firing over the bar from the left-hand side of the box.
They kept on pressing for a winner and were eventually rewarded for their attacking play on 79 minutes, Baumgartlinger heading home from Yunus Malli’s inviting cross to send the home fans into wild celebrations.
Schalke 04 had three more chances to draw level in the dying minutes, but Joel Matip, Franco Di Santo and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar all failed to hit the target as Mainz 05 just about held on to claim all three points.