FSV Mainz 05 battled back from a goal down to beat promoted Kaiserslautern 2-1 on Sunday and move into second place on goal difference behind Hoffenheim with their third win in three Bundesliga matches.
Croatian striker Srdjan Lakic scored his fourth goal of the season to put the visitors into the lead after 20 minutes, picking up a deep ball to race clear and flick in from the edge of the box.
A lapse of concentration by dominant Kaiserslautern midway through the second half allowed Mainz to battle back and equalize through Niko Bungert in the 71st minute from close range before Andre Schuerrle’s slightly deflected shot two minutes later handed them the three points.
“We started very badly but I am delighted to have turned it around with a double strike,” Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel told reporters.
“Patience, patience, patience. That is what I always tell my players. At the end, our patience paid off,”
Kaiserslautern, who had won both of their previous matches, dropped to fifth place on six points
The home side had conceded a goal moments after Christian Fuchs had hit the post, Lakic collecting a long pass and easily scoring.
However, Mainz beat an offside trap and had three players in front of Kaiserslautern’s goal before Bungert scored from close range.
Schuerrle shot from outside the penalty area to secure the victory two minutes later.
In the only other match on Sunday, Cologne got their first points, edging past newly promoted St Pauli 1-0 with Taner Yalcin volleying in the rebound after Germany international Lukas Podolski had rattled the post with a fierce left-footed drive from 20m.
St Pauli had a goal disallowed for offside late in the game and missed a clear opportunity in stoppage time.
Champions Bayern Munich stuttered to a 0-0 draw against Werder Bremen on Saturday to remain in 11th place on four points.
Mainz have nine points, the same as Hoffenheim who handed Champions League participants Schalke 04, last season’s runners-up, their third successive defeat on Friday.
Schalke, Vfb Stuttgart and Wolfsburg prop up the Bundesliga table, without a point between them after three games apiece.
Additional reporting by staff writer