Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 1
(1 - 1)
Mainz 05
G. Xhaka (3), R. Andrich (68)
D. Kohr (7), J. Ngankam (80)
By Ben Sully@SullyBen

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Mainz 05 preview: Can die Nullfünfer trouble the league leaders?

Mainz 05 will attempt to pull off a surprise result against leaders Bayer Leverkusen in Friday's Bundesliga contest.

Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen continued their title push with a narrow 2-1 victory in their away meeting with Heidenheim last weekend. Jeremie Frimpong and Amine Adli grabbed a goal apiece to give Leverkusen a two-goal advantage, before Tim Kleindienst pulled a goal back in the 86th minute. Die Werkself ultimately saw out the remainder of the contest to claim a third consecutive league win and extend their lead to eight points over second-placed Bayern Munich, who suffered a surprise defeat to Bochum.

Xabi Alonso’s side will now turn their focus to Friday’s contest, where they will have the chance to extend their unbeaten run to 33 matches in all competitions. They will also be looking to produce another strong defensive performance after recording clean sheets in each of their previous four home matches in the Bundesliga.

Incidentally, die Werkself managed to record a shutout in their most recent meeting with Mainz in September when they cruised to a 3-0 victory thanks to an own goal and efforts from Álex Grimaldo and Jonas Hofmann.
Team News

Alonso is expected to be without the services of Victor Boniface, Exequiel Palacios and Arthur due to injury.

Mainz 05

Mainz will head into Friday’s encounter in a positive mood after they ended an 11-game winless run in Bo Henriksen’s first game in charge. Sepp van den Berg’s 43rd-minute effort proved enough to secure a narrow 1-0 victory in Mainz’s home meeting with Augsburg, moving them to within one point of the relegation playoff spot. However, there is still a considerable seven-point gap separating die Nullfünfer from Borussia Mönchengladbach in 15th place.

They will now head on their travels for a difficult away meeting against high-flying Leverkusen. Mainz are the only team yet to win an away league game this season, having seen their 11 road trips produce six draws and five defeats. The visitors have also scored just three goals across their previous six away trips in the top flight.

However, they may be able to draw inspiration from the fact they recorded a narrow 3-2 victory in their previous away meeting with Leverkusen in February last year.
Team News

Mainz are expected to be without Edimilson Fernandes, Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Maxim Leitsch, Nelson Weiper, Karim Onisiwo and Stefan Bell. Meanwhile, there are also doubts over the availability of Marco Richter, Danny da Costa, Ludovic Ajorque and Jonathan Burkardt.

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