Hertha Berlin return to action with draw in Mainz

Hertha Berlin returned to the pitch from coronavirus quarantine on Monday and claimed a 1-1 draw away to Mainz to kick-start what will be a frantic bid to avoid relegation.

Lucas Tousart’s 36th minute header from a free-kick gave Hertha a lead which lasted only four minutes before Mainz levelled through a brilliant curling shot by Phillipp Mwene from 20 metres.

Hertha remain second-last, two points from the play-off and three from safety, as they started a do-or-die burst of five games in 13 days to make up for lost time.

Coach Pal Dardai said he complimented his Hertha team after a game which was “well played, well fought.

“We have said before a point is important for us, three better, but we’ll take it with us,” he told Sky Sports. “A draw was deserved for both teams.”

Hertha last played on April 10 due to a coronavirus outbreak but are in action again immediately at home to midtable Freiburg on Thursday.

“The fitness coach hunted us through the flat,” Hertha midfielder Sami Khedira said of the time in quarantine.

Relegation six-pointers at home to Arminia Bielefeld (15th) and Cologne (16th) sandwich an apparent must-win midweek trip to relegated Schalke before there is finally a recovery period going into their last game of the season at Hoffenheim.

Hertha substitute Krzysztof Piatek somehow turned wide eight minutes from time as the guests missed a crucial win and Mainz, 12th and six points above the bottom three with three games remaining, edged closer confirming safety.

The hosts will also rue Jean-Paul Boetius hitting the bar early on but had luck that Stefan Bell was not shown a second a yellow card for the foul that led to Hertha’s opener.

“I’m rather disappointed when you look at the first half with three good chances,” said Mainz’s Adam Szalai, who was denied by Alexander Schwolow in a one-on-one situation.

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