Andre Schürrle's late, unstoppable long-range drive earned Mainz a 1-0 victory and rammed in the relegation misery for bottom-of-the-table Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday night.
Andre Schuerrle struck the winner from 25 meters
Germany international Andre Schürrle unleashed an unstoppable drive with three minutes remaining to give Mainz their first home win since November. The 1-0 victory in Friday's Bundesliga game piled on the misery for Mönchengladbach at the bottom of the table.
To add insult to injury, the gutsy Gladbach team had been reduced to ten men when Mike Hanke was sent off early in the second half after receiving a second yellow card.
The result put Mainz on 48 points in fifth place, setting the home team firmly on course for a spot in the Europa League. Gladbach is stuck on 26 points, two points adrift of a relegation playoff spot with four games remaining. Just ahead of them on 28 points each are Wolfsburg and St Pauli, who play each other on Saturday. The bottom two sides in the league are automatically relegated.
Mike Hanke could grumble about the first yellow he'd seen, but his second was justified
Hopes of a playoff place
"It was very disappointing," Mönchengladbach Coach Lucien Favre said after the match. Still, he was not yet ready to give up on top flight survival.
"I think we'll need nine points now, so we need to win three games."
The match had started promisingly for the visitors, who seemed buoyed by last week's 5-1 demolition of Cologne.
Marco Reus fired just wide on 21 minutes and Mainz survived another scare before halftime when keeper Christian Wetklo tipped away a curling free kick from Juan Arango.
On Sunday, league leaders Borussia Dortmund host Freiburg while fourth-placed Bayern Munich, desperate to qualify for the Champions League, entertain second-place Bayer Leverkusen.
Author: Joanna Impey (AP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Matt Hermann