- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

BERLIN (AP) - Nicolai Mueller scored twice as Hamburger SV eased its Bundesliga relegation fears with a 2-0 home win over third-place Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

Mueller broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when he stopped Lewis Holtby’s deflected cross and rifled the ball inside the right post. The 28-year-old midfielder sealed the result with 15 minutes remaining with a fine strike to the top corner on another assist from Holtby.

Hamburg climbed to 10th, seven points above Eintracht Frankfurt in the relegation playoff spot with nine games remaining. Frankfurt fired Armin Veh as coach earlier Sunday.

Hertha remained third in the last automatic qualification place for the Champions League, 16 points behind second-place Borussia Dortmund and just one ahead of Schalke.

“When you play like that away from home, you can’t expect anything,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. “Today Hamburg were clearly the better team.”

Earlier, Darmstadt held high-flying Mainz to a scoreless draw that denied the home side the chance to go fourth.

Mainz, which shocked leader Bayern Munich with a 2-1 win in Munich on Wednesday, was frustrated in a scrappy game that saw five visiting players booked and one sent off for the home side.

Jhon Cordoba, who scored the winner against Bayern, had the best chance early in the second half after a brilliant pass from Yunus Malli, but the Colombian’s first touch was poor and Darmstadt ‘keeper Christian Mathenia was able to block.

The visitors received a boost minutes afterward when Giulio Donati was sent off for a foul on Sandro Wagner but were unable to capitalize.

Mainz remained fifth, a point behind Schalke.

Bayern preserved its five-point lead with an entertaining scoreless draw at Dortmund on Saturday.

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