Mainz opened up a six-point cushion between themselves and 17th placed Hamburg with a vital win at Hertha Berlin. The star of the show was Robin Quaison, who netted a goal in each half.
Hertha Berlin 0-2 Mainz, Olympic Stadium
(Quaison 40', 65')
Mainz arrived in the German capital looking to stem a run of four successive defeats in all competitions and a run of form that has seen the Karnevalsverein sink into deep relegation trouble.
On this evidence, their post-Karneval form promises to be a lot brighter, with their Swedish forward Robin Quaison in ruthless form, dispatching a goal in each half as Mainz pulled off a richly deserved win and a three points that could serve as a turning point in their season.
Hertha coach Pal Dardai handed club captain Vedad Ibisevic his first start since the 1-1 draw with Augsburg in December, but his return to the starting line-up lasted 12 minutes, as he suffered a heavy whack to the face and was forced off with his face bloodied.
That was not to be the only bloody nose Mainz inflicted on their opponents in Berlin. The visitors peppered the Hertha goal with shots in a first half that they dominated and came close to scoring several times.
But Mainz stuck to the game plan and were rewarded five minutes before the break when Quaison crafted some space on the edge of the box and drilled a low shot beyond Rune Jarstein, who appeared to see it late.
Mainz continued to call the shots in the second period and Quaison got his second of the night to put the game beyond a flat Hertha, beating the home side's offside trap and sliding the ball through the legs of the advancing Jarstein.
The defeat is a hugely disappointing one for Hertha, particularly given their impressive 2-0 win in Leverkusen last weekend. But for Mainz it's the perfect tonic for their recent poor form, and perhaps marks a turning point in their rocky season.