Hoffenheim’s new coach Markus Babbel was unable to mark his home debut with a win Friday as Mainz came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in the Bundesliga.
Article continues below ...
The home side went ahead in the ninth minute when the unfortunate Nikolce Noveski deflected Boris Vukcevic’s cross into his own net for his sixth ever own goal – a Bundesliga joint record.
Noveski also scored an own goal when Mainz hosted Hoffenheim earlier this season.
Mohamed Zidan scored in the third consecutive game following his winter transfer from Borussia Dortmund when the Hoffenheim defense left him completely free to volley in Radoslav Zabavnik’s cross in the 29th.
Both midtable sides found it hard to control the ball or dictate play in a scrappy second half.
Hoffenheim midfielder Roberto Firmino should have scored in the 72nd, after Sebastian Rudy capitalized on a Christian Wetklo mistake to send him through, but the Mainz goalkeeper atoned by keeping out the Brazilian’s shot.
It was Hoffenheim’s sixth consecutive draw at home, while Mainz hasn’t won away from home for 10 games.
”We’re getting too little reward for the effort we’re putting in. It’s annoying without end,” Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel said.
Babbel took over from the sacked Holger Stanislawski on Feb. 10, having been sacked by Hertha Berlin in December. His last game in charge of Berlin was a 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim.
”We have to be happy with the point,” Babbel said.