Mainz went top of the Bundesliga on Sunday as a second-half goal from Andreas Ivanchitz gave the German minnows a 1-0 win over Leverkusen. Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, needed a dramatic late goal to draw with Hoffenheim.
Mainz took the lead when coach Thomas Tuchel brought rising stars Austria midfielder Ivanschitz and striker Andre Schuerrle off the bench. Teenager Schuerrle supplied the final pass and Ivanschitz scored in the 70th minute. The win gave Mainz their eighth win in nine games and put them two points clear of second-placed Dortmund while Leverkusen are now fifth.
Earlier Dortmund needed a dramatic last-minute free-kick to salvage a point from their 1-1 draw against ten-man Hoffenheim. With time almost up, Brazil midfielder Antonio da Silva curled in his shot in the 93rd minute and amidst the tense scenes Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic was sent off as he screamed his protests at the referee.
In an action packed opening 15 minutes, Hoffenheim took the lead after nine minutes following a pass from Brazilian Luiz Gustavo which found Senegal striker Demba Ba at the far post and he beat Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Dortmund were awarded a penalty on 15 minutes when Hoffenheim's Ghana defender Isaac Vorsah handled in the area. Dortmund's Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin slammed home the penalty, but had to retake it because a home player had strayed into the area. Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tom Starke saved the second attempt. The home side then laid siege to the Hoffenheim goal, but could not convert their chances until the last minute.
"The draw was earned, we threw everything into the attack to try and get the goal," said relieved Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
Stuttgart are up to 14th and out of the relegation zone after they earned a 2-0 win over St Pauli as new coach Jens Keller picked up his first win since taking charge. Defender Georg Niedermeier and Serbian midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic scored the goals for Stuttgart.
Meanwhile, UEFA Champions League side Werder Bremen moved up to eighth after their 4-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach. Peru striker Claudio Pizarro scored the fourth to become the top foreign scorer in Bundesliga history with 134, the former Bayern Munich and Chelsea man passing former Bayern star Giovane Elber.
Hanover are up to third in the table after their 2-1 win over Cologne after Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan netted twice. The defeat cost Cologne trainer Zvonimir Soldo his job as he was fired on Sunday afternoon.
Freiburg striker Stefan Reisinger scored just four minutes after coming off the bench to score a 60th-minute winner to seal the 2-1 win over Kaiserslautern while Nuremberg also enjoyed a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg.
Schalke are 16th after their goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern Munich meanwhile are in 11th place after a goalless draw with Hamburg on Friday.