Mainz 05 will attempt to claim their first win of the Bundesliga season when they play host to high-flying Bayer Leverkusen.
|Photo: Mainz 05|
Mainz will be desperate to claim all three points this weekend after picking up just one point from their opening five matches. Bo Svensson’s side finished the 2022-23 campaign with one draw and four defeats, and unfortunately for the Mainz boss, his side have replicated that poor run in the opening stages of the new season.
After being thrashed 4-1 by Union in their league opener, die Nullfünfer offered a response on matchday two, drawing 1-1 with Frankfurt to take a point from their away trip. However, Mainz have been unable to build upon that result, having gone on to lose to Werder Bremen, Stuttgart and Augsburg.
Mainz propping up the Bundesliga table, and they need to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are to move off the bottom. With just four goals to their name, Mainz are the league’s joint-lowest scorers, while they also hold one of the worst defensive records after shipping 14 goals - only Darmstadt and Bochum have conceded more.
Ahead of Saturday’s difficult contest, Mainz may be able to draw inspiration from their most recent meeting with Leverkusen in February when they claimed all three points courtesy of a 3-2 away win.
Mainz are unable to call upon the services of Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Maxim Leitsch, Silvan Widmer, Nelson Weiper and Jonathan Burkardt. Meanwhile, Phillipp Mwene is a doubt after missing the defeat to Augsburg through injury.
In contrast to their hosts, Leverkusen have made a blistering start to the new season, winning six and drawing one of their seven competitive games. Die Werkself began their Bundesliga campaign with three consecutive wins over RB Leipzig, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Darmstadt, before they came from behind on two occasions to draw 2-2 with perennial champions Bayern.
They continued their scintillating form last weekend when they cruised to a 4-1 win over Heidenheim thanks to two goals from Victor Boniface as well as strikes from Jonas Hofmann and Amine Adli.
Leverkusen are currently sitting in second place and level on 13 points with league leaders Bayern, and their impressive results have led to them being touted as potential title contenders. If they are to challenge for the top prize then Leverkusen will need to take maximum points from games like Saturday’s contest. The visitors may have lost to Mainz on home turf in February, but they will have fond memories of the 3-0 win they recorded on their last trip to the MEWA Arena in August 2022.
Noah Mbamba and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are sidelined with knee issues, while Arthur and Patrik Schick are also ruled out through injury.