Bundesliga: Mainz come back from two down to take a point against Gladbach
Last Updated: 08/03/15 8:35am
Mainz came from two goals down to snatch a point at home to Borussia Monchengladbach, who wasted a chance to move to within seven points of second-placed Wolfsburg.
Two goals from Raffael appeared to be putting Lucien Favre's men on their way to all three points and a five-point cushion over the chasing pack, but Johannes Geis pulled one back for Martin Schmidt's men and Shinji Okazaki headed them level.
Both sides hit the woodwork too in an entertaining game which Gladbach will feel they had lost and Mainz they had won given the home team's late recovery.
It was a mark of Gladbach's efficiency that they sat back, soaked up the pressure and then, after 27 minutes, took the lead with their first attack of the game.
Ibrahima Traore delivered the cross from the right which Raffael met with a powerful header which left Loris Karius no chance.
Mainz, who had made a better start to the game, were stunned and then shocked when Okazaki's header hit the crossbar just minutes later.
There was little more Schmidt's men could do, yet they still went in at the break a goal behind.
Worse was to follow midway through the second half when Gladbach relieved the pressure they were under in an equally effective manner - by grabbing a second.
Fabian Johnson pulled the ball back for Raffael, who tucked his shot in from eight yards after Max Kruse's intelligent dummy confused the Mainz defence.
It did not look like it was going to be Mainz's evening, but a free-kick from 25 yards gave free-kick specialist Geis an opportunity.
He lived up to his reputation with a shot which Yann Sommer managed to get his fingertips to, but the Swiss goalkeeper could not keep the ball from nestling in the far corner of his goal.
Kruse came close to restoring Gladbach's two-goal advantage within 60 seconds, but his shot came back off the post.
Instead, Mainz levelled when Granit Xhaka's attempted clearance found Bell, whose cross was headed in by Okzazaki, and the Coface Arena erupted.
It was almost silenced again when Kramer went down inside the penalty area, although it appeared he ran straight into Bell, who had no chance of moving out of his way.
The Germany international's vociferous appeals were waved away by the referee.
Another Okazaki header was pushed round the post by Sommer as both sides searched for a winner in the closing stages, although neither could find one.