Mainz on course for Europe
Last Updated: 12/04/14 10:33pm
Mainz celebrate after an early own goal from Nils Petersen
Mainz boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season's Europa League with a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen - a result which plunged the visitors right back in the thick of relegation danger.
An own goal from Nils Petersen set Mainz on their way to victory, with further goals from Christoph Moritz and Yunus Malli sealing the points even before the interval.
Bremen rolled up their sleeves and tried to restore some pride in the second half, but were unable to find a way back into the game and were left just six points above the Bundesliga drop zone with four games left.
Should both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich reach the final of the DFB-Pokal next week, seventh place would be worth a place in Europe next term. And that is where Mainz now stand - with a five-point advantage over Augsburg, who are in action on Sunday.
Only five minutes were on the clock when Mainz gained the lead thanks to a fine goal by Petersen, albeit at the wrong end for the Bremen striker, who left his own goalkeeper no chance from Johannes Geis' corner.
It was a sign of things to come, with Mainz persistently looking for a second.
Their relentless pressure paid off in the 16th minute when some more misfortune saw the ball strike Sebastian Prodl on his chest and fall out to Moritz, who converted from close range.
Bremen tried to respond, but, five minutes before the break, Malli dealt the killer blow, beating Raphael Wolf inside his near post from Zdenech Pospech's pass.
With the game effectively lost already, Bremen took a more positive approach to the second half, yet they risked conceding a fourth just shy of the hour mark when Malli was presented with only Wolf to beat, but he struck the post.
Mainz continued to control their lead, inviting Bremen to attack them and trying to catch them out on the counter-attack with Malli looking particularly threatening.
Eljero Elia had Bremen's best chance to score before Mainz had a good shout for a penalty waved away by referee Deniz Aytekin
A fourth goal did not arrive, but Mainz still edged closer to the top six, leaving Bremen looking over their shoulders.