On paper, Darmstadt against Mainz wasn't a top billing in the Bundesliga but it proved to be one of the most exciting games of the league season so far.
Darmstadt 2-3 Mainz
(Heller 27', Sailer 57' - Bell 15', Malli 24', de Blasis 64')
Darmstadt came from two goals down to draw level against Mainz on Friday night, but Pablo de Blasis' goal soon after was enough to win after Sandro Wagner missed a last-minute penalty for the hosts.
Perhaps it was no surprise that after a fairly tepid opening quarter of an hour, a set-piece broke the deadlock in this one. Danny Latza's well-delivered free kick from the left-hand side was met by Stefan Bell who rose above two defenders to head Mainz into the lead. Darmstadt had started poorly and it didn't get any better when Yunus Malli took advantage of some space on the edge of the area to curl neatly into the far corner.
Staring a long comeback in the face, Darmstadt responded almost instantly. Marcel Heller grabbed his fourth of the season when he followed up good footwork with an instinctive curling shot on the turn that left Loris Karius no chance. The goal reignited Darmstadt, who came close to a dramatic equalizer, but neither of Sandro Wagner's efforts found the back of the net. Mainz wrestled back control in the final stages of the first half, but pivotally no one turned home Pablo de Blasis' low cross, leaving the visitors' half-time lead at just one.
Heartache for Wagner
The second half started like the first ended, with Mainz threatening to add a third. Once again though, they were punished for not doing so. Konstantin Rausch's low cross from the left found the gap in Mainz's defense and substitute Marco Sailer was on hand to draw Darmstadt level having been 2-0 down.
Having proved their mettle yet again, Darmstadt took their foot off the gas. Peter Niemeyer's poor header allowed Malli the chance to run at goal and the goalscorer turned provider as he slipped through Yoshinori Muto. The Japanese striker's shot was saved by Christian Mathenia, but de Blasis gobbled up the rebound. Mathenia made a brilliant reflex save to deny Muto as Darmstadt suddenly found themselves fighting to stay in the game. That all changed in the final 10 minutes, as the home side pushed for another equalizer. They were given the chance to do that when referee Florian Mayer awarded them a fortuitous penalty, but Wagner blazed over to deny Darmstadt a dramatic comeback and move Mainz into the top five ahead of the rest of the weekend's matches.
Matchday eight fixtures:
Gladbach vs. Wolfsburg (Saturday)
Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart
Hannover vs. Werder Bremen
Hertha vs. Hamburg
Ingolstadt vs. Frankfurt
Schalke vs. Cologne (Sunday)
Leverkusen vs. Augsburg
Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund