Deniz Undav scored again as Stuttgart beat Mainz 3-1

Stuttgart (Germany) (AFP) - Stuttgart’s Deniz Undav scored his fifth goal in his last three games during a 3-1 home win over lowly Mainz on Sunday.

The hosts dominated from start to finish against a struggling Mainz side with only one win in the league this season.

Maximilian Mittelstaedt and Jamie Leweling struck in first-half stoppage time before Undav blasted in on 73 minutes.

Mainz striker Ludovic Ajorque scored a consolation goal a few minutes later.

Serhou Guirassy, who has 17 goals in 14 league games this season, came off the bench in the second half for his first Stuttgart appearance since December, having returned from an injury picked up on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Guinea.

Stuttgart moved three points clear of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund, with RB Leipzig a further three points back in fifth.

Undav, on loan from Premier League side Brighton, now has 14 league goals in 18 appearances this season.

“I don’t care how many goals I have – the main thing is the three points,” Undav told DAZN.

Stuttgart, who needed to win a two-legged playoff against second-division Hamburg to stay in the top flight last year, remain on course for a first Champions League appearance since 2009-10.

Stuttgart’s season tally of 14 league wins from 21 matches is double their total from last campaign as the 2006-07 German champions continue their impressive turnaround under coach Sebastian Hoeness.

“He’s got a clear idea of how he wants to play. He makes it fun but he’s also got a winner’s mentality,” Undav said of Hoeness.

The loss leaves Mainz second last, kept off the bottom of the table by goal difference.

In Sunday’s late game, Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric came off the bench to snatch his side a point at home to Cologne in a 1-1 draw.

Max Finkgraefe’s free-kick with just over 10 minutes remaining had Cologne, who sit third-last in the relegation play-off spot, on track for a valuable win.

Kramaric had other ideas however, scoring in the fourth minute of injury time to ensure the spoils were shared.

The draw keeps eighth-placed Hoffenheim in touch with the European places, while Cologne end the weekend five points from safety.