Taiwo Awoniyi scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season to help Mainz secure a 2-2 draw with Cologne at the RheinEnergie Stadion.
The Liverpool loanee started on the bench, but his introduction sparked Mainz back to life and helped the visitors come from two goals down to rescue a point.
Kingsley Ehizibue surprisingly started on the bench, but Cologne picked up where they left off before the coronavirus-induced break by avoiding defeat to Mainz 05 on Sunday afternoon.
There were only six minutes on the clock when Mark Uth handed the hosts the lead from the penalty spot.
Despite the early setback, Mainz were still dangerous going forward with striker Karim Onisiwo’s runs and dribbles troubling the home side.
But the Billy Goats, promoted back to the top flight this season, didn’t look anything like the pathetic side that endured a torrid start to the campaign, losing 10 of their opening 14 matches.
Even without their fans, Markus Gisdol’s men stood firm, in the face of constant Mainz pressure, to protect their slender lead heading into the interval.
Things became more comfortable for the homers when Florian Kainz doubled Cologne’s lead shortly after the restart with a header off a Dominick Drexler cross.
That second goal, however, stunned Mainz’s manager into action, as Nigeria youth international Taiwo Awoniyi was thrown into the fray minutes later.
The on-loan Liverpool forward needed little time in proving his worth, halving his side’s deficit with a delightful finish from close range.
— Oluwajoba (@olumcjobson) May 17, 2020
The goal brought the visitors back to life, and their equalizer arrived soon after when Pierre Kunde converted from inside the box.
Cologne were stunned, and Ehizibue was introduced for the injured Benno Schmitz with ten minutes left to play to help shore up their leaking defence.
But there would be no more goals as a thrilling tie ended in a stalemate.
Despite the setback, Cologne have won eight of their last 12 league games, to sit in 10th position and remain in serious contention for Europa League qualification.