Hoffenheim may well feel aggrieved to have come away from the Bruchwegstadion empty handed, but in the end it was a lack of concentration early in the match which let Mainz in for two goals which proved decisive.
It took just six minutes for Mainz to get on the scoresheet, and it was some goal. Szolt Löw sent a sizzling low cross in from the left, finding the arriving Andreas Ivanschitz on the edge of the box, who rifled home a superb volley into the top corner to the delight of the home faithful.
Five minutes later and it was two. The Hoffenheim back four failed to clear a hopeful ball into the box which was headed up into the air. Per Nilsson was charged with the task of clearing, but the Swedish stopper's lazy efforts allowed Aristide Bancé to send a looping header over Timo Hildebrand and into the far corner.
Though Hoffenheim began to bring some fluency to their play, Mainz took a deserved 2-0 lead in at the break following a courageous performance against a Hoffenheim side known for their attacking prowess, but so far failing to cause the home defence any major problems.
It took until midway through the second period for Ralf Rangnick's troops to assert their attacking game and even longer to find the target. Andreas Ibertsberger received the ball short from a corner and took one touch before releasing a driven right-foot strike into the bottom left-hand corner, but with three minutes left it was a mere consolation for the visitors. The defeat means Hoffenheim now find themselves in fourth place in the table, just a point ahead of surprise package Mainz.
Zsolt Löw: I was feeling the pressure ahead of the match because I knew I'd be up against my old team mates. We prepared well and gave everything.
Timo Hildebrand: It's frustrating that we conceded early yet against away from home. It's been our main problem so far this season and we have to learn from it. We could easily have avoided this defeat.
Nikolce Noveski: We put in a determined performance and we were solid at the back. Luckily we grabbed a couple of goals too.
Heinz Müller: We didn't let too much past us and we were good in attack. I think we deserved the win in the end.
Milorad Pekovic: We were lucky to get the three points in the end, so we're very happy with the win.
Marvin Compper: We conceded some soft goals. We were too far away from our men. After that we dominated and we tried to turn the game but in the end we couldn't manage it.
Demba Ba: The first ten minutes were decisive. We were poor in the first half and it took us too long to gain any rhythm.
Thomas Tuchel: We were happy with the first half performance. The atmosphere was superb when we made it two-nil, but unfortunately we fell asleep a bit at the back. Hoffenheim are a good team, though, we shouldn't forget that. It's the three points which count at the end of the day, but we could have done without those nervy last few minutes.
Ralf Rangnick: We put in a first half performance similar to all our other away games. We needed to show more energy and aggression in the opening half an hour and that's what let us down. The second half was better but we wasted several chances. I would have settled for a point. I think Mainz were bending the rules a bit but we have to accept that that's how games are going to be sometimes on the road. I wasn't happy with any of my players in the first half.