Andre Schurrle struck an 87th-minute winner as Mainz consolidated fifth place in the Bundesliga table with a tight 1-0 victory over rock-bottom Borussia Monchengladbach tonight.
The visitors had hoped to move off the foot of the table on the back of their 5-1 thrashing of Cologne last Sunday, but missed their chance when Mike Hanke was sent off after 53 minutes for two bookable offences.
Without a win in their last four games, Mainz started well and Schurrle came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute when his right-footed shot in the box was well saved by Marc ter Stegen.
The visitors hit back through Marco Reus, who flashed a 21st-minute effort inches wide of the target, before Mainz had a strong penalty shout turned down after Schurrle was held back in the box by Bonfim Dante.
The gutsy visitors were holding their own at the halfway stage but that changed after 53 minutes when Hanke was dismissed for his second bookable offence after a foul on Eugen Polanski.
Despite coming under pressure, Gladbach almost won a penalty of their own in the 70th minute when Polanski fouled Reus in the box but the referee deemed it unworthy of a spot-kick.
And Gladbach's brave resistance finally crumbled three minutes from time when Schurrle burst down the right channel and unleashed a right-foot shot from 25 yards which flew into the top corner of the net.
While the win pushed Mainz closer to their goal of securing UEFA Europa League football next season, it was another major blow to Gladbach's survival prospects and left them four points off safety.