Sunday was a day of local derbies. In the late match two early goals paved the way for a 3-1 Stuttgart win over Freiburg. Earlier in the day Mainz struck in the dying minutes to claim a 1-0 victory over Frankfurt.
Frankfurt came into the match having never won away against local rivals Mainz. They might have fancied their chances, though, since suspension and injury meant that the hosts had to deploy their third-string goalkeeper, 20-year-old Loris Karius.
But it was Frankfurt's keeper, Kevin Trapp, who was the far busier player in the first half, denying Mainz on a handful of close-range opportunities. Frankfurt's best chance came after a half-an-hour when Sebastian Rode sent through Takashi Inui, but the Japanese midfielder went down in the box in a vain attempt to draw a penalty.
Mainz nearly grabbed the lead immediately after the restart, but Trapp again came up big. Karius, too, got a chance to shine, blocking a pair of Traquillo Barnetta efforts in minute 49.
Then in the dying minutes, a Zdenek Pospech cross found Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and he finally put the ball past Trapp from point-blank range.
"When things are crap, they're crap," Frankfurt coach Armin Veh grumbled. "It's typical of this season that we concede just before the end. Part of the problem is that we're playing in three competitions, but we knew that would be the case."
The 1-0 win takes Mainz into the top half of the table, while Frankfurt are hovering just above the bottom three.
Early Stuttgart explosion
In the final match of round 12, Freiburg hosted Stuttgart with a chance to escape the drop zone for the first time this season. Admir Mehmedi tested Stuttgart keeper Sven Ulreich early, but it was the visitors grabbing an early lead.
Vedad Ibisevic ghosted into the box in minute 9 and coolly finished. And only one minute later, Timo Werner made it 2-0 after a mazy run.
Freiburg were understandably shocked and took a while to regain the initiative. But Mehmedi in particular was wasteful, and Stuttgart took a two-goal advantage into the dressing rooms.
The second half was all Freiburg, but they failed to generate many clear chances. Then in minute 78 substitute Mike Hanke handed the hosts a lifeline with his first goal for Freiburg since the opening day of the season.
Freiburg’s hopes for a comeback were short-lived, though. Four minutes later, Werner broke away again with two teammates. Face with a three-on-one against Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann, the 17-year-old showed great composure and salted away the 3-1 win himself.
Stuttgart move all the way up to eighth in the table, while Freiburg will spend the international break third-from-bottom.