Bundesliga relegation rivals Mainz and Wolfsburg draw

Josip Brekalo scored just six minutes into proceedings but Yoshinori Muto tied it up for Mainz to draw Wolfsburg 1-1.

BERLIN — Wolfsburg’s new coach Bruno Labbadia was unable to force an improvement as his side was held at relegation rival Mainz to 1-1 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

Labbadia was appointed on Tuesday following Martin Schmidt’s surprise resignation the day before. Schmidt, who led Wolfsburg to 11 draws in 18 league games, said he wanted to reduce the pressure ahead of the clash with Mainz, his former club.

The draw will do little to ease either side’s relegation worries with 10 games for both remaining. Mainz moved one point above the relegation zone while Wolfsburg stayed a point ahead of Mainz. Both sides could be overtaken on Saturday by Werder Bremen, which hosts second-to-last Hamburger SV in the northern derby.

Wolfsburg started brightly and Josip Brekalo opened the scoring early, mishitting William’s cross initially but recovering to fire it into the roof of the net.

Yoshinori Muto equalized before the break, albeit with a bit of luck when he deflected Gerrit Holtmann’s cross inside the far post.

Yunus Malli missed Wolfsburg’s best chance against his former side, and Anthony Ujah came closest to a winner for Mainz in injury time.

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