TSG got off to a strong start and controlled the game early on. Every time the team in blue lost the ball, they pressed together as a unit and soon regained possession. The best opportunity in these opening stages fell to Tom Bischof, who found himself in a yard of space near the edge of the box and fired a shot on goal, which FSV goalkeeper Finn Dahmen parried away for a corner (21).
However, it was Mainz who grabbed the opening goal in the 28th minute. After winning the ball around the halfway line, the 05ers broke forward at pace. The ball was shifted out to Bobzien on the left, who passed centrally to the feet of Fulgini. He seized the opportunity with aplomb, sending a precise shot into the top-left corner from 16 metres out.
The first real chance for TSG to equalise came around the hour mark. Again it was Bischoff who had a sight of goal, but Dahmen reacted well once again to deny the TSG youngster. In the 66th minute, Stanley Nsoki struck the woodwork with a header from an Angeliño corner.
In the 68th minute, TSG finally got their rewards: Ihlas Bebou worked his way into space down the right and slipped a pass through to substitute Justin Che. The American drove into the area at pace and applied an ice-cold finish to make it 1-1. It would remain that way until the 75th minute, when the two sides paused for half-time.
Both coaches sent out more or less completely new teams out for the second half at Mainz's Bruchwegstadion. The first chance after the interval fell to the home side in the 84th minute. Weiper shot on goal from close range, but a magnificent reaction save from Luca Philipp ensured the two teams remained level at 1-1. Down the other end, Munas Dabbur had a good opportunity in the 98th minute, but Mainz goalkeeper Riess did well to deflect the ball to safety with his feet.
Mainz soon regained the lead in the 106th minute. A free-kick delivery from the right was headed on by Ingvartsen, with Barreiro then getting the all-important final touch to force the ball over the line. But TSG were able to bounce back once again: in the 138th minute, Robert Skov picked out Dabbur with a cross from the left flank. The Israeli's powerful header from five metres out left the Mainz keeper with no chance.
Dabbur then had a big chance to put TSG ahead, but his header from a free-kick delivery on the left was deflected onto the upright by Riess, who was grateful to see the ball bounce back into his arms off the post.
TSG Hoffenheim will be back in Bundesliga action next weekend. André Breitenreiter's side face a trip to 1. FC Union Berlin on Saturday (15:30 CET/liveticker on tsg-hoffenheim.de).
1. FSV Mainz 05 first half: Dahmen – Fernandes, Hack, Caci – Widmer, Fulgini, Kohr, Aaron – Bobzien, Onisiwo, Lee
TSG Hoffenheim first half: Baumann – Quaresma, Vogt (61, Che), Nsoki – Bebou, Geiger, Stiller, Angeliño – Baumgartner (44, Asllani) – Bischof, Dolberg
1. FSV Mainz 05 second half: Riess – Wilhelm, Leitsch (113, Hanche-Olsen), Laux – da Costa, Barreiro, Barkok, Mamutovic – Gruda, Ingvartsen, Weiper (135, Bierschenk)
TSG Hoffenheim second half: Philipp (118, Pentke), Akpoguma, Bičakčić, Quarshie (133, Che) – Kadeřábek, Damar (141, Mokwa), Rudy (118, Tohumcu), Becker, Skov – Dabbur, Kramarić
Goals: 1-0 Fulgini (28), 1-1 Che (68), 2-1 Barreiro (106), 2-2 Dabbur (138)