Wolfsburg fall further behind Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga. The Wolves had to come from behind to salvage a point as Mainz's fine run under Martin Schmidt continues.
Mainz 1-1 Wolfsburg
(Bungert 7' - Gustavo 61')
Second-placed Wolfsburg hasn't suffered from many hangovers this season - they have dropped points on weekends following European action only once so far. But on Sunday, a 1-1 draw at Mainz will go down as a hangover that stretched from the hours after booking their place in the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday.
Building on a bright start to proceedings, Mainz took the lead inside seven minutes with Niko Bungert's header from Johannes Geis' corner-kick. Geis' sumptuous deliveries threatened less than 30 seconds later as Stefan Bell headed wide from another corner.
Mainz's highly-sought after defensive-midfielder has potential courters in Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach - and even Dietmar Hamann, the former German international, noted he was a better fit for Schalke than Sami Khedira.
Geis' set-pieces are just one caveat to generally all-rounded game. On 28 minutes, the 21-year-old took charge of another free-kick situation and smashed the crossbar from around 25 yards out. By the half hour mark, the Carnival Club had were leading eight shots to one, a sign of their sustained dominance over Germany's lone representative in the UEFA Europa League.
Change in the second half
At the interval, Dieter Hecking made two changes - Vieirinha for Jung, Perisic for Guilavogui - that brought some spark to his side's football which was largely sluggish and pedestrian throughout. But the changes soon proved effective as Luiz Gustavo earned the license to bomb forward with Maxi Arnold providing defensive cover in front of the back-four.
Former Bayern midfielder Gustavo hit the post from a long-range strike, and then moments later, poked the ball into the net after Naldo had nodded down a corner-kick from Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian couldn't add to his excellent record for Wolfsburg this season - in 38 games he has contributed to 38 goals - but forced a good save from Loris Karius on 71 minutes.
Despite being under the cosh late on, Wolfsburg weathered the storm from the home side, but lose ground on Bayern Munich and open up room for Borussia Mönchengladbach to cut the gap on second.