Berlin, Dec 19: Borussia Moenchengladbach completed its best first half of a season in 35 years by beating Mainz 1-0 Sunday in the Bundesliga's last game before a four-week winter break.
Marco Reus wore a special boot after breaking the little toe on his left foot last month and set up the only goal in the fifth minute with an incisive ball for Patrick Herrmann to score through Christian Wetklo's legs.
"We'll go on and fight for every point," said Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre, whose side remains unbeaten at home. "We're taking every game as it comes."
Moenchengladbach stays fourth and in touch with the league leaders, one point behind Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, and four behind Bayern Munich which tops the standings with 37 points. The season resumes Jan. 20.
"Mainz was better," Favre said, and his coaching counterpart agreed.
"It was a draw that we lost," said Thomas Tuchel, who was sent to the stands early in the second half for a disagreement with referee Peter Gagelmann.
Gagelmann waved away Moenchengladbach's penalty appeals before the interval, when former Borussia player Eugen Polanski appeared to bring down Roman Neustaedter.
Juan Arango should have made it 2-0 in the 67th when Wetklo denied the Venezuelan, before Tony Jantschke went close from the resulting corner.
Reus limped off with an injury in the 83rd, holding his knee after a collision with Niko Bungert
"It hurt a lot at the time, but it seems more or less OK now," Reus said. An examination Monday will reveal the full extent of any damage.
Mainz defender Zdenek Pospech appeared to be briefly knocked unconscious after clashing heads with Arango in the 88th, but the Czech was able to see out the game.
Earlier Sunday, Kaiserslautern and Hannover drew 1-1 as each side prolonged its winless streak to seven games in the league.
"At least we got our effectiveness back," Hannover coach Mirko Slomka said. "We had one big chance and we took it."
Mohammed Abdellaoue scored his ninth goal of the season for Hannover in the 13th when he capitalized on a mistake from Kaiserslautern defender Mathias Abel.
Abel misjudged a hopeful ball forward from Sofian Chahed, allowing the grateful Abdellaoue to collect the loose ball and sweep it through the legs of Kevin Trapp.
For all of Kaiserslautern's endeavor, Ron-Robert Zieler didn't have a save to make until Alexander Bugera's strong shot in the 65th.
But Adam Nemec finally equalized three minutes later, when Christian Tiffert played the ball left to Olcay Sahan, who crossed for the Slovenian's first goal of the season.
Kaiserslautern striker Itay Shechter was sent off with three minutes remaining for kicking out at Manuel Schmiedebach.
Kaiserslautern's last success in the Bundesliga was a 1-0 victory over Freiburg on Oct. 22, while Hannover hasn't won since beating Bayern Munich 2-1 on Oct. 23.
"We played brilliantly, but the goals were missing," said Kaiserslautern coach Marco Kurz, whose side drops to the relegation playoff place.
Hertha Berlin said Sunday that it had fired coach Markus Babbel after the 39-year-old fell out with the club's sporting director.