German Bundesliga report: Mainz v Hertha Berlin
Last Updated: 07/02/15 4:48pm
Pal Dardai celebrated a winning start to life as coach of Hertha Berlin as they picked up their first points of 2015 at Mainz.
Jens Hegeler put them in front from the penalty spot after Loris Karius was given his marching orders.
Roy Beerens added a second before the interval, although the Old Lady were also reduced to 10 men in the second half when Fabian Lustenberger saw his second yellow card.
Dardai's men nevertheless held on to win 2-0 and move out of the bottom three.
New Hertha coach Dardai did not waste any time putting his own fingerprint on his side, making no fewer than five changes to the side which was beaten by Bayer Leverkusen in midweek, a result that saw Jos Luhukay lose his job.
Per Skjelbred and Marvin Plattenhardt came in for their first appearances of the new year while Shinji Okazaki was back to lead the Mainz attack as the only change compared to midweek.
It soon became clear that Dardai's first objective was to keep a clean sheet, knowing that he would at least come away with a point if succeeding.
His side were very defensive, sitting deep and inviting Mainz to attack them before hitting on the break and gaining the advantage after half an hour when Karius felled Valentin Stocker inside the penalty area.
The red card was shown to the Mainz custodian and worse was to follow as Hegeler converted to put Hertha ahead.
With the extra man, Hertha dropped their previous defensive approach and started to make inroads on the Mainz defence, doubling their lead just before half-time
Stocker's shot from a tight angle struck the post and fell for Beerens, who converted into the open goal with substitute goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino nowhere to be seen.
The game started to turn into a scrap in the second half with yellow cards shown to Lustenberger and Julian Schieber before the Hertha defender then received a second and final warning four minutes later, joining Karius in the stands for the remaining half an hour.
It should have given Mainz some hope, but it did not seem to inspire them as Hertha held on to their lead without any major scares.
One arrived in the 88th minute only when Niko Bungert had two bites of the cherry against Thomas Kraft, but failed to take either of them.