Mainz stun shaky Bremen
Mainz earned themselves a bit of breathing space at the bottom of the Bundesliga thanks to an emphatic 3-0 win over out-of-sorts Werder Bremen at the Weser Stadion.
Adam Szalai gave Thomas Tuchel's side the lead in the 19th minute and a brace from Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting sealed a deserved win.
The win takes Mainz up to tenth, five points clear of the bottom three, while Bremen slipped down to seventh with a place in Europe next season now hanging in the balance. They will drop to eighth if Hannover beat Borussia Monchengladbach tomorrow.
Bremen had goalkeeper Tim Wiese and striker Claudio Pizarro back in their side, increasing the average age after fielding their youngest ever Bundesliga line-up last weekend. But the added experience failed to help as a youthful Mainz tore them apart.
Andreas Ivanschitz sent the first warning in the seventh minute before Philipp Bargfrede headed against the post at the other end. Szalai put Mainz in front when he smashed his shot into the roof of the net from 12 yards inside 20 minutes.
Ivanschitz then rattled the woodwork with a free-kick which struck the angle of post and crossbar just before the break. Mainz doubled their lead in the third minute of the second half when Choupo-Moting beat Wiese in a one-on-one situation after using his physical strength to create room.
Pizarro thought he had brought Bremen back into the game in the 64th minute, but his goal was ruled out for handball. Bremen lost belief, and Mainz took full advantage, sealing the win with a third goal in the 74th minute.
Wiese and Clemens Fritz got in each other's way, leaving Choupo-Moting an easy chance to make it three and earn Mainz a crucial away victory.