Mainz striker Yoshinori Muto scored his fourth Bundesliga goal of the season away to Hannover on Saturday, but a Niclas Fullkrug hat trick ensured a 3-2 victory for the home side.
Japan international Muto struck home a cross inside the penalty area to put the visitors up in the 26th minute before teammate Alexander Hack added another goal five minutes later at HDI Arena.
Hannover answered in the 33rd minute when Fullkrug headed home their opener, then equalized minutes later after former Dutch international midfielder Nigel de Jong brought down Felix Klaus inside the box. Fullkrug completed his hat trick with a 75th-minute winner.
Muto, who played until the 82nd minute, said he was fighting to keep his place in the team.
"I knew for sure that someone else in the team would take over my position if I didn't do well in the match today, so I told myself that I need to score. I think that worked out well," the 25-year-old said. "We were in a good position in the match with a 2-0 lead, but we gave away easy goals. It's difficult."
Mainz is 15th in the 18-team German first division with four wins in 18 matches.